Attorney General Tom Horne yesterday announced the introduction of school safety legislation that allows a designated school employee to be trained and armed for the purpose of defending a campus.
The bill is sponsored by Representative David Stevens (R) – Sierra Vista.
“I believe it is inexcusable for teachers, students and school staff to be undefended,” Horne said. “It would be ideal to have an armed Police Officer in each school. But since budget considerations make that unlikely, the next best solution is to have one person in the school trained to handle firearms, to handle emergency situations, and possessing a firearm in a secure location. This legislation will accomplish that goal, and I am grateful to Representative Stevens for his work to get this introduced at the legislature.”
Rep. Stevens added, “Attorney General Horne is to be commended for his leadership on this matter. The right for people to defend themselves is a cherished part of our constitutional freedoms. School administrators are responsible for the safety of children and they should be able to defend their campuses. This legislation, if signed into law, will be an excellent tool for helping make schools safer.”
The legislation, HB 2656, amends state law allowing the Attorney General’s Office to establish the optional School Safety Designee Program. Working in cooperation with the Arizona Dept. of Public Safety, firearms training will be made available to a school district or charter employee who has been approved and designated by either the district or charter governing authority to defend the campus.
The comprehensive training will include instruction on legal issues, weapons care, mental conditioning for the use of deadly force, safe handling and storage of weapons, marksmanship and other training elements.
The legislation also calls for participating schools to register with the Attorney General’s Office on an annual basis. After a person is designated in each participating school there is also a provision for more people to be trained and designated.