Utah Bill Requires Schools To Inform Parents If Teacher Is Packing Heat

With recent legislative proposals that would encourage or require educators to carry concealed weapons in schools, parents have a reason to be worried about whether their children are in a classroom with a gun. A new bill in Utah is working to address that.

The measure would require schools to inform parents if their child’s teacher is packing heat, and let them switch his or her classroom if they felt uncomfortable with the arrangement:

“This is a parents’ rights bill. It’s not a gun bill,” [Utah state Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay] said Thursday. Though it’s late in the legislative session, Moss said she wants to see discussion about the issue. “I think the discussion will be worthwhile, and I want to see if people think parental rights trump gun rights.”

More than 15 states have started “armed teacher training programs” in the wake of the shooting in Newtown, CT, that renewed the gun debate and the idea of guns in schools. South Carolina took a different tack, teaching high-schoolers how to use firearms. In Maine, Alabama, Texas, and Oklahoma, legislators have called for laws to arm teachers.

But research shows that, even when a gun is legally owned with the proper permits, more guns mean more gun deaths, and a school, especially one with young children in attendance, may be less safe with more guns.