(CNN) – While most of the nation’s students are enjoying summer break, teachers in a handful of states are studying – not their fall curriculum, but how to take out an assailant.
In Ohio, Buckeye Firearms Association, a gun rights PAC, has launched a program to educate teachers on how to take down a gunman.
“We were mocked when we first said we wanted to teach this class,” Jim Irvine, president of Buckeye, said. “People doubted if we could fill the class.”
Yet more than 1,400 school staff members applied for the 24 spots first offered in late December, he said.
Interest in arming teachers has grown among some school staff, gun rights groups and lawmakers in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which 20 students – ages 6 and 7 – and six adults were killed in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14.
Gun rights groups have sponsored classes for teachers in a number of states from Texas to Ohio.
In the six months since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, legislators in at least 30 states have proposed laws allowing teachers and other school staff to carry firearms on primary and secondary school campuses, according to Lauren Heintz, a research analyst at the National Conference of State Legislatures. In most states the bills have failed, but laws have been enacted in South Dakota, Alabama, Arizona, and Kansas. Texas, which already allows staff to carry firearms with school approval, passed two new laws creating a “school marshal” program and addressing training teachers.
Some bills proposed in the past six months require only that the school employee have a concealed-firearm permit, but many of the bills include training provisions. For example, South Dakota’s new law requires law enforcement-approved training for every appointed school sentinel.
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