Missouri bill would allow teachers with guns

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Some Missouri lawmakers are making a last-minute push to pass a bill that would put guns in some school classrooms. The bill covers a variety of gun-related issues, including allowing school personnel to be armed.

The bill would require school personnel chosen to carry a gun to undergo the same firearm training as police. And, they would have to keep their weapon on them at all times. Supporters are working to pass it before session ends Friday night.

Some local parents are supporting the measure, saying it's the best way to keep their children safe.

"Teachers are going to be the first line of defense, and crawling under your desk and locking the door isn't going to stop a shooter," said Valley Park parent Adam Chollet.

Others, aren't quite sure what to think.

"Using a gun I don't take lightly, and I don't allow a gun in my home for that reason," said University City parent Maria Phelps. "So, that's where I would worry about it in the classroom as well, and it being turned and used on students or teachers."

Concern from parents is a top concern of the bill's opponents, which include St. Louis County Rep. Genise Montecillo, who is also a former teacher.

"Children deserve real teachers, and they deserve real police officers. And I think when you try to have a teacher that's trying to co-mingle those two roles, I think it's a detriment to the classroom and I personally think it will make our classrooms less safe," said Rep. Montecillo.

But supporters, like former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch, say not every school can afford a full-time officer, and most deaths happen before police arrive. That's why he says arming school personnel is the only answer.

"One of my fellow police chiefs made a comment one time that more guns isn't the answer. When I said to him, 'then what is your answer because we've tried everything else…' there's generally a blank look on the individual's face, because they don't' have an alternative," said Fitch.

If the bill does pass it would allow each school district to decide whether to implement the firearms policy. Districts would also have to hold public hearings before making a decision.


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