North Carolina Legislative Committee considers arming teachers with guns

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- A legislative committee is considering ways to arm teachers in the classroom, as it works to improve school safety in the wake of several mass shootings across the country.

"If we are going to talk specifically about active shooter situations in school, it is a crucial line of first defense," said law enforcement expert Michael Macario. "This doesn't come in reaction to something. We're here because we were trying to be forward thinking."

The North Carolina Association of Educators argues teachers want to be armed with books and technology, not guns.

"It's a dangerous prospect to put out there and we would surely hope that the General Assembly would not even entertain that idea of arming teachers in North Carolina, but we will fight back if it does come forward," said NCAE President Mark Jewell.

The prospect would be a costly move. In Wake County, ABC11 approximates it would be more than $4.9 million to arm every teacher with a gun.

We calculated that by multiplying the number of teachers in the Wake County Public School System (10,359) by the listed price for a Glock 17 9mm handgun ($475). The guns, of course, would also require ammunition. If each gun has a capacity of 17 rounds, and each box of 100 rounds costs $25, the cost of arming the weapons would be $44,025.75.

"I can't cost out the life of one child or one person," responded Joint Legislative Co-Chair Sen. Rob Rabin.

He says right now they are just looking into what it would take to prepare a civilian for a deadly encounter, and lawmakers have been working with law enforcement experts since before the tragedy in Florida.

"It wasn't just a knee-jerk reaction. We've been meeting to try to solve this issue of public safety and school safety," said Rabin.

Some feel arming teachers isn't the right move.

"I cannot believe that. I think we will come to our senses and realize that is just not workable. The amount of training that is involved is not sustainable and there are other better ways to address this problem," said Sen. Terry van Duyn.

The committee will be making a recommendation on how to improve school safety at its next meeting, which includes increasing investments in school counselors or SROs.
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