Ariz. AG proposes arming 1 educator per school

Ariz. AG proposes arming 1 educator per school

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Tom Horne Tom Horne
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PHOENIX -

Arizona's attorney general is proposing educators learn how to shoot and carry guns on school grounds to prevent a tragedy.

Tom Horne says principals or other administrators, armed with weapons, could help deter mass shootings like the campus attack in Connecticut.

He says some Arizona sheriffs support the idea -- but one state lawmaker says it should be up to police or security guards to help keep our students safe.

The attorney general says the state might not be able to afford a police officer in every school, so the next best idea, he says, is to arm one principal or teacher in every school.

Wednesday, former state superintendent of schools, now Attorney General Tom Horne, came out with a plan to arm one school leader with a gun.

"Just one person we would train, it would be extensive training and would be free if the schools wanted it, they could have it, if they didn't want it they wouldn't have to have it," said Horne.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu signed off on Horne's plan, but he doesn't want just one armed school official. He wants any school leader who wants to be armed, to be armed, along with armed school resource officers patrolling campuses.

"The safe school zones are in fact sitting duck zones," said Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

"Who better than people who already know our schools, who are well educated, they've had a criminal background check, we have their fingerprints, they love our children, to be the immediate first line of defense against these mass murderers."

Instead, Representative Campbell wants to, among other things, restore funding to an already existing program called the school resource officer program -- that allows armed law enforcement officers in schools.

"Arming teachers and putting them into the roles of law enforcement or safety officer is just a horrible horrible idea," said Rep. Chad Campbell, House Minority Leader.

Babeu, Horne and Campbell all agree, school resource officers need to be in schools. But no one's put a price tag on it.

"We have to decide as a community, as a nation, what is the priority and is it to keep our schools safe?" said Sheriff Babeu.

Representative Campbell says he'll introduce his own plan, which will include addressing mental health and gun reform, in the next few weeks.

Lawmakers are expected to bring up the issue when session begins January 14th.

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