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Bill would OK hidden guns for teachers at school

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Posted: Saturday, January 18, 2014 7:00 am

LINCOLN — Teachers who obtain 24 hours of tactical firearm training could carry concealed handguns in schools under a bill introduced Tuesday in the Legislature.

The bill would create a "level II" concealed carry permit that would require the holder to undergo training in addition to the roughly eight hours for a standard permit. The additional training would include best practices for active shooter situations, weapons retention methods and techniques related to barricading and evasion.

Legislative Bill 879, introduced by State Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial, would apply to public and private schools along with colleges and universities. The governing bodies of each school would have to grant permission for a teacher or staff member to carry a concealed gun.

Christensen has said he thinks the bill addresses a need for schools in rural settings where emergency response times are much longer than in large cities. Current law allows only on-duty law enforcement officers to carry handguns in schools.

The bill is expected to generate opposition from groups that represent teachers and administrators. Opponents typically argue that the risk of having guns in schools outweighs the potential benefits unless the gun holder is a police officer.

Last year, in response to the 2012 slayings of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., more than 30 states considered proposals to arm teachers. Seven states passed related legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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