In aftermath of Connecticut school shooting, Oregon state legislator says teachers should be allowed to carry guns
According to an Associated Press (AP) report in The Oregonian, Oregon State Representative Dennis Richardson believes the Connecticut school shooting is another “heartbreaking failure” of school personnel to ensure protection, and is a reminder that teachers should be allowed to carry guns in the classroom. Richardson sent an email to three school district superintendents in his state saying gun bans on school property need to be overturned.
“If I had been a teacher or the principal at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and if the school district did not preclude me from having access to a firearm, either by concealed carry or locked in my desk, most of the murdered children would still be alive, and the gunman would still be dead, and not by suicide,” he wrote. In a follow up to his email, Richardson added that he believes at least three officials in every school should be trained in the use of firearms.
The AP article also noted that in 2009, an Oregon appellate court had ruled that a South Medford High School teacher did not have the right to bring a gun to school. Medford police chief Tim George disagreed with Richardson, saying that it is not the responsibility of teachers to make deadly force decisions on the job.
“Teachers don’t go into teaching to be police officers, they want to teach kids,” George said. “In crisis situations there are a lot of very complex things happening all at once and you have to constantly train for deadly force incidents.”
Source: The Oregonian, 12/15/12, By AP
[Editor's Note: In April 2009, Legal Clips summarized an article in the Mail Tribune, which provided background on the appeal in the Medford School District (MSD) teacher-gun suit. MSD's attorney, Tim Gerking, said the three-judge panel questioned him and Katz's attorney, James Leuenberger, on the meaning of words such as "regulate" because the statute gives the Legislature sole authority to regulate firearms. Gerking said the school district's argument continues to be that "regulate" means the passage of laws that apply to the general public, but that does not include an organization's internal safety policies.]