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Push to arm Arizona teachers gets initial approval

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

A new proposed bill passed by a House committee could allow teachers to carry guns in the classroom.

The name of the bill is House Bill 2412.

Backers say it would be nice to hire more armed school resource officers to protect the kids, but there isn't the money for that, so they say this is the next best thing.  

There are teachers and school staffers out there, some of them retired military, who would be willing to do it.

Under the bill, they would get 24 hours of training a year, including learning scenarios that would ideally allow teachers and staffers to know when to pull the trigger and when not to.

Teachers would have to keep the guns locked up so they couldn't fall into the wrong hands.

Only the teacher would have the key, which ideally they wouldn't ever lose.

Supporters say this is a prudent way to save lives given the reality that mentally disturbed people can get guns, invade a school and start shooting.

Opponents say arming teachers this way is a Hollywood-style fantasy that might work in an action movie starring Vin Diesel, but wouldn't be a good thing to try in the real world.

We hear from both sides:

"Voluntary properly screening access, not carrying firearms, and this is something that so many other states are already allowing that we would be shortchanging our children if we didn't give them the same level of protection," said Rep. John Kavanagh, a Fountain Hills republican.

"So, what we envision then is a scenario of safety roulette. We are going to hope that a firearm is within reach of the person signed to carry it at the exact moment when a violent situation breaks out," said Andrew Morrill, with Arizona Education Association.

The bill is headed to the House Rules Committee and then on to the full House of Representatives.

There is still a distance for this bill to go in the legislature; a bill like this one failed last year and never got a hearing.

Another major question is what happens if a teacher shoots and kills a student by accident while defending a class? what are the liability and insurance issues?

Those questions were something supporters brushed past Wednesday, but it may loom as a major obstacle to the passage of the bill into law.

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