Ottawa Citizen

Utah teach­ers to learn how to shoot

Gun lobby of­fered free lessons

- PAUL FOY

SALT LAKE CITY • More than 200 Utah teach­ers are ex­pected to pack a con­ven­tion hall on Thurs­day for six hours of con­cealed-weapons train­ing as or­ga­niz­ers seek to arm more educators in the af­ter­math of the Con­necti­cut school shoot­ing.

The Utah Shoot­ing Sports Coun­cil said it nor­mally gath­ers a dozen teach­ers ev­ery year for in­struc­tion that’s re­quired to legally carry a con­cealed weapon in pub­lic places. The state’s lead­ing gun lobby de­cided to of­fer teach­ers the train­ing at no charge to en­cour­age turnout, and it worked.

Or­ga­niz­ers who ini­tially capped at­ten­dance at 200 were ex­ceed­ing that num­ber by Wed­nes­day and scram­bling to ac­com­mo­date an over­flow crowd.

“Schools are some of the safest places in the world, but I think teach­ers un­der­stand that some­thing has changed — the sanc­tity of schools has changed,” Clark Aposhian, one of Utah’s lead­ing gun in­struc­tors, said Wed­nes­day. “Mass shoot­ings may still be rare, but that doesn’t help you when the mon­ster comes in.”

Gun-rights ad­vo­cates say teach­ers can act more quickly than law en­force­ment in the crit­i­cal first few min­utes to pro­tect chil­dren from the kind of shoot­ing that left 20 chil­dren and six adults dead Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School in New­town, Conn. In Ari­zona, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Tom Horne has pro­posed amend­ing state law to al­low one ed­u­ca­tor in each school to carry a gun.

Educators say it’s bad pol­icy but that Utah leg­is­la­tors left them with no choice.

 ?? GE­ORGE FREY/GETTY IM­AGES ?? A shooter at a Utah gun range kneels as he aims. En­rol­ment has spiked for teach­ers who want to learn how to shoot.
GE­ORGE FREY/GETTY IM­AGES A shooter at a Utah gun range kneels as he aims. En­rol­ment has spiked for teach­ers who want to learn how to shoot.

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