Buckeye Firearms Foundation announced that they would provide free firearms training to teachers and school administrative staff. So far, the Armed Teacher Training Program has attracted more than 900 applicants from all parts of Ohio and 20 other states.
After the mass murder at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, Buckeye Firearms Foundation announced that they would provide free firearms training to teachers and school administrative staff.
So far, the Armed Teacher Training Program has attracted more than 900 applicants from all parts of Ohio and more than 20 other states. More teachers inquire about the program every day. Those interested can apply by completing a questionnaire at www.BuckeyeFirearms.org.
“We knew this would be popular, but the response has exceeded our expectations,” said Jim Irvine, Chairman of the non-profit Buckeye Firearms Foundation. “People doubted if we would fill the first class. That happened in hours. This is something many in our schools have been asking about for a long time. We are already looking past the first class to future dates and locations to meet the demand.”
While Ohio generally prohibits firearms at schools, the law includes a provision that allows teachers and staff to carry firearms if the school board approves it. The Armed Teacher Training Program seeks to help teachers get permission to carry concealed firearms on the job and provide advanced training that goes above and beyond the typical requirements of concealed carry.
“For too long, many school administrators have been living in denial,” explained Irvine. “They believed that rules prohibiting guns in schools would prevent violence. But what we’ve seen over and over again is that mass murderers don’t obey these restrictions. So schools have become victim zones filled with easy targets who are unable to respond effectively.
“So our idea is very simple. Let’s allow volunteer teachers and administrators to carry concealed firearms on the job. They will all have a state-issued Concealed Handgun License. They will all have greater than average training. And they will all go through a background check. It works effectively for concealed carry in malls, office buildings, public parks, and millions of other highly populated locations. It will work in schools too.”
Irvine says the program is entirely voluntary. “No one will be forced to be armed if they choose not to. The strategy is the same as ordinary concealed carry. No one will ever know who is or is not armed. Those who would seek to do harm in schools should be met with armed resistance even before law enforcement shows up. Over time, schools will no longer be considered easy, risk-free targets.”
Irvine says the idea isn’t new. “For 25 years, citizens in the U.S. have been legally carrying concealed firearms. A total of 49 states now allow concealed carry, some with no licensing or training of any kind. The concept has worked remarkably well. Most of those who were initially skeptical now admit that citizens can be trusted to act lawfully and responsibly. Millions of ordinary people carry firearms in malls, on buses and city streets, and in restaurants and office buildings. It works for average citizens even in highly populated locations, so why would anyone assume armed teachers in schools would be any different?”
Who is applying for the Armed Teacher Training Program? “We’re getting a cross section of middle America,” said Dean Rieck, Marketing and Communications Director for Buckeye Firearms Association. “More than a third of applicants are women. Over 70 percent are teachers, but there are also administrators, office staff, and guidance counselors. Half work in high schools, but many work in kindergartens, grade schools, and middle schools. And there’s a fairly even distribution of applicants from urban, suburban, and rural areas.”
A few people have questioned the idea of arming teachers who have no firearm experience or may be uncomfortable with guns. “That’s a misunderstanding of what we’re doing,” said Rieck. “Applicants for the program are not firearm novices. More than half already have a Concealed Handgun License. About 40 percent of our applicants say they have previous self defense training. Over 60 percent say they have moderate to extensive firearm experience. And over 80 percent have experience with handguns.
“Graduates will have to pass the same test as law enforcement. Plus, we’re going above and beyond to provide training that will be on an advanced level and focused exclusively on active shooter response tactics.”
Buckeye Firearms Foundation is currently developing the curriculum and guidelines for the Armed Teacher Training Program with Tactical Defense Institute. The first class date is expected to be spring of 2013. Funding will come from private and corporate donations.
About Buckeye firearms Foundation
Buckeye Firearms Foundation is a non-profit educational organization based in Ohio and staffed by volunteers.
For more information, please visit www.BuckeyeFirearms.org.