In the past 2 days I have been interviewed by 3 media outlets in Wisconsin following the shooting of a high school principal there. They made a few mistakes and left out my best stuff but that is typical.
Here are the links and text to 2 of the stories. The web site has some good video of the stories as well.
Will Wisconsin Follow Utah's Lead?
Updated: 6:22 PM Oct 11, 2006
Lasee Revises Plans
State Representative Frank Lasee is tweaking his original proposal a bit, but it still allows teachers to have guns on the job. NBC 15 has learned similar plans are already on the books in other states.
Three years ago, Utah lawmakers amended the state's concealâ€"carry law. The change made it legal for teachers, who pass a stateâ€"mandated test, to carry guns.
"The word is out that maybe one or more teachers in a school is carrying firearms, " says Clark Aposhian.
He's a Utah gun lobbyist and founder of a firearms training organization in Salt Lake City. Representative Lasee is turning to Aposhian for help.
"They have guns in their schools and it hasn't cause problems or difficulties for them," says Lasee.
The Republican from the Green Bay area wants to give teachers the option of keeping a gun at school in a locked box or safe. Lasee introduced his plan following a rash of school shootings, including the one in Cazenovia, that killed Weston Principal John Klang.
"We've been sold on this concept that guns equal violence, when it actuality it's the people who use guns, and not the guns themselves. Guns can be used for good or bad. And, when a bad person has a gun we need to have someone who can stop them," adds Lasee.
Aposhian has trained around 350 teachers, principals and even custodians. He estimates around 3â€"percent of Utah's school employees are armed. Aposhian says teachers are not being trained to become police officers.
"The main premise when you're getting that permit doesn't have anything to do with protecting the school or stopping intruders from killing everyone in the school. The main premise is something much more simple--it's about self defense," says Aposhian.
To carry a concealed gun in Utah, you must be 21, pass background checks, and be trained by a state certified instructor.
The Utah State Board of Education is against guns in schools. There is no research to show if the change has made schools safer in Utah. But, Aposhian think it has, and Lasee says it can do the same for Wisconsin schools.
"Those who don't like this proposal, I challenge them--put your ideas on the table and let's discuss them, too," says Lasee.
Oregon state law also allows teachers to carry guns. However, this law doesn't apply across the board, like Utah's. Individual school districts in Oregon can prohibit employees from carrying guns as a condition of their work agreements.
Lasee plans to introduce his proposal to the legislature in January
Training Teachers to Use Guns
Oct 11, 2006 05:40 PM MDT
By Elizabeth Ries
State Assemblyman Frank Lasee received more national attention Tuesday for his proposal to let teachers keep guns in school, which was a response to a recent rash of school violence.
"We would have experts tell us exactly what needs to be in the training, but I would envision more training than would be for a regular concealed-carry permit," Lasee told MSNBC (Wisconsin currently doesn't allow concealed-carry permits.). "I've had contact from a couple quality training outfits that said they would be willing to do it free of charge and, I think you know, to promote themselves."
One of those training organizations Lasee mentioned is in Salt Lake City. Its founder, Clark Aposhian, says he's trained hundreds of school officials to carry guns there, and if Lasee's proposal becomes law he wants to do the same in Wisconsin.
The State of Utah allows citizens some of the most freedom with guns of any state in the country.
Aposhian, of Fair Warnings Firearm Training, says he's been training those citizens for 12 years. "Everything from custodians, administrators, principals, teachers, counselors. In my last class last week I just taught a school nurse who is over quite a few schools."
Aposhian estimates only three percent of school employees in Utah actually carry guns, a right that comes with the state's concealed-handgun permit, but he believes those who want to should be able to.
"We send our kids to school, we expect them to be safe, except we are basically putting our heads in the sand and not realizing what a soft target is. Teachers and students, are, as we have seen in the last few weeks, going into harm's way."
Aposhian believes potential attackers who know there are guns in school will be deterred, even though his critics say teachers shouldn't take on the role of law enforcement.
"We are not turning teachers into cops any more than we're turning them into fireman because they have a fire extinguisher in the room and are expected to use it and to evacuate the building," Aposhian responds. "We're not turning them into doctors because they know how to and are expected to perform CPR and basic first aid."