Gun group offers training for Utah teachers

Jessica Fiveash sees nothing wrong with arming teachers. She's one herself, and learned Thursday how to safely use her 9 mm Ruger with a laser sight.
Associated Press
Dec 30, 2012

"If we have the ability to stop something, we should do it," said the elementary school teacher, who along with nearly 200 other teachers in Utah took six hours of free gun training offered by the state's leading gun lobby.

It is among the latest efforts to arm or train teachers to confront assailants after a gunman killed his mother and then went on a rampage through Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., killing 20 children and six adults before killing himself.

In Ohio, a firearms group said it was launching a test program in tactical firearms training for 24 teachers. In Arizona, the attorney general is proposing a change to state law that would allow an educator in each school to carry a gun.

The moves to train teachers come after the National Rifle Association proposed placing an armed officer at each of the nation's schools, though some schools already have police officers. Parents and educators have questioned how safe the proposal would keep kids and whether it would be economically feasible.

Some educators say it is dangerous to allow guns on campus. Among the potential dangers they point to are teachers being overpowered for their weapons or students getting them and accidentally or purposely shooting classmates.

"It's a terrible idea," said Carol Lear, a chief lawyer for the Utah Office of Education. "It's a horrible, terrible, no-good, rotten idea."

Kristen Rand, the legislative director for the Violence Policy Center, a gun control advocacy organization, said to believe that a "teacher would be successful in stopping someone who has made the decision to engage in a shootout is just not rationale."

"No teacher is ever going to be as effective as a trained law enforcement officer," Rand said. Even trained police officers don't always hit their targets, and arming teachers could put innocent students at risk of crossfire, she said.

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 deadly shooting that took place in Connecticut. They emphasized the importance of reacting appropriately under pressure.

"We're not suggesting that teachers roam the halls" looking for an armed intruder, said Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, the state's biggest gun lobby. "They should lock down the classroom. But a gun is one more option if the shooter" breaks into a classroom.

The group waived its $50 fee for the training. Instruction featured plastic guns and emphasized that people facing deadly threats should announce or show their gun and take cover before trying to shoot. They cautioned teachers about the liability that comes with packing a gun in public.

"It's going to be a hassle. It's another responsibility. You can't just leave your gun lying around," Aposhian said. "Not for a minute."

The teachers at the basic gun training applied for a concealed-weapons permit, submitting fingerprints and a mug shot for a criminal background check. The class kicked off as an instructor in the "psychology of mass violence" offered various tactics to disrupt an assailant.

The first, the instructor said, was to start with the command: "Stop right there!"

"I wouldn't hesitate to shoot if the danger was immediate," said Fiveash, adding that her laser sight would make shooting in tight quarters safer.

English teacher Kevin Leatherbarrow said he often felt threatened while working at an inner-city school in Buffalo, N.Y., where he got a license to carry a pistol. He moved less than a year ago to Utah, where he feels safer. But he said gun violence can break out anywhere.

Leatherbarrow said he was highly trained in handling guns — and was taking criticism from parents who don't appreciate his views on school safety.

"I'm in agreement not everybody should be carrying firearms in school. They're not trained. But for some parents to think we're cowboys, that frustrates me," he said. "I wish parents would understand."

In the U.S., the number of homicides at schools of children, ages 5-18, have been lower year-by-year in the 2000s than they were in the mid- to late-1990s, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics report on school crime released in 2012. At 32 deaths, the 2006-2007 school year was the only one that reached the levels from the 1990s. The manner of death was not listed.

Utah is among a few states that let people carry licensed concealed weapons into public schools without exception, the National Conference of State Legislatures says in a 2012 compendium of state gun laws.

Utah educators say they would ban guns if they could, but legislators left them with no choice. State law forbids schools, districts or college campuses from imposing their own gun restrictions.

Educators say they have no way of knowing how many teachers are armed. Gun-rights advocates estimate 1 percent of Utah teachers, or 240, are licensed to carry concealed weapons. It's not known how many do so at school.

"I never felt threatened in 14 years of teaching, but I don't think you can be too prepared," said Tiffany Parry, a dance teacher in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy who applied for Thursday for a license to carry a concealed gun. "I think it could come in handy."




Now this is a move in the right direction. Also, once she gets the hang of it she'll love her new sport! She'll never look back and be one of those "psycho's" out there surfing cheaper than dirt for the latest bulk ammo sale!


I think they might be enjoying themselves a bit too much with that gun . They look like they have some sex face going on there ; )))))


the idea behind all of this isn't the fact that the teachers WILL do something in the event of a shoot out, it's the IDEA that since EVERYONE has the ability to carry a weapon in that area now assailants have to consider possibly beings shot back at.

look at all of the places that have been shot up... all of those places were no carry zones, so the shooters didn't need to be shot back at until the cops arrived... at which point most of them commit suicide right before the cops can get to them and right after their rampage... giving teachers the gun isn't so they will use them, it's to put the fear of being shot at by would be assailants..

just take a look at texas as a prime example of what happens when you give every citizen the right to carry a weapon... rapes, robberies, and muggings dropped drastically because every thug in the state now has to worry about the grandma that they were planning on stealing a purse from could possible be carrying a firearm...

some people really amaze me... just because someone carries a gun that doesnt automatically mean that they are going to use it... some police officers go their entire 30 year carrier without ever having to draw their weapon... it's because everyone knows that every cop has a gun, so most times it never reaches that point... do you think all of those people nabbed for drugs on the turnpike are done at gun point? absolutely not. do you think every domestic violence is met by officers with guns at the ready? not every time... it's because of the idea of a gun, not so much of the effectiveness of the shooter...

it's a great idea. the idea of a gun on premises makes people think twice about doing something stupid when someone could just as easily point a gun right back.


People in texas are the worse people to have guns due to unregulated gun laws - I take for instance the famous "Stand Your Ground" laws. You are more likely to get shot because someone just doesn't like you there and in Florida where in both of these states the SYG shootings have increased drastically recently. Play your stereo too loud and you'll get shot. And the police in Texas are no better than the citizens and terrorists. Look who they have been shooting recently. For instance the double-amputee in a corner in a wheelchair who can't walk was shot and killed because the cops were afraid of a pen he was waiving with one arm. For God sake - three cops were there - one of them couldn't have just tipped the wheelchair over and then cuffed him?? I certainly would not use Texas as an example of good people having guns when even the cops are bad people with guns there. They don't worry much about shooting people there, other than t he SYG laws or cops, who can shoot whoever they want - because they have immediate death penalty there. Most other states don't have that deterrent. In fact, in many states you don't even get life in prison for killing someone and you're out in no time killing more people. I would agree to using something like that as a deterrent - but don't see it happening either.


again... you post something based on here-say and little fact, if any at all... you seem to like to stretch the truth... "play your radio too loud and you'll get shot." you sound like a media hypester... be honest, even you have to admit that was a bit too far to sound remotely rational.

when you compare the violent crime rates from before they started to deregulate guns from after, there is a significant decrease in crime percentages... look them up yourself. yes, there are cops over stepping their lines, but that goes on everywhere... for christ sakes just look at the perkins and sandusky police departments and you'll see two prime examples of a circus side show. so your example of how bad the texas cops are is an irrelevant counter argument... hell, even in cleveland those cops chased those people down and shot them dead, and they were unarmed... so im failing to see how deregulated gun laws causes such activity when the same stuff happens everywhere... like i said... irrational counter argument..

and like i said above, when most of these mass murderers are planning on committing suicide before the cops can get to them, what's an instant death penalty going to do to scare them away? i'll answer that one for you in a logical and well thought out response that you can feel free to copy and past... the law wont do a darn thing.

and at any rate, the syg laws are the same as the protect the castle laws in ohio, you have to show the use of threatening force by the opposing party before you can shoot... so again... you base your assumptions on faulty information, and thus try to poison logical argument with irrational nonsense.

sit back down and enjoy your time in the peanut gallery.


Funny - someone in Texas was shot for playing their music too loud and the shooter recorded it and kept saying he was going to shoot him in self defense. To the best of my knowledge, this guy has yet to be charged. I'm not exaggerating about the cops shooting the man in the wheelchair either. Nice try though.

And you are wrong about the SYG laws. You don't have to do anything - not even run away. Ohio has no such laws. After the main threat is passed, you cannot shot in Ohio - you can in Tx and Fl and where else those stupid laws are. I wasn't using the police inability to shoot or shooting the wrong people as any example of what the law will do to help. I was using that example in defense that teachers should be trained to shoot and carry into schools with small children around. My point was that if the cops can't shoot after their training - you can bet the teachers won't be much better if at all. And I believe I mentioned Cleveland incident in my previous post you replied to. Your kind just can't answer the basic questions that have been asked over and over. And I'm not going to ask them again. YOu just proved that you are not listening or reading what is going on in other places.


"to the best of my knowledge" is a very suspect phrase coming from you at this point. i bet if you do a bit more digging on that bogus story you'll find that the guy doing the shooting is sitting in jail.

and again, these mass shooting don't happen out side of gun shops and police stations for a reason. the idea of other guns firing back. where you find unarmed civilians you'll find carnage. where you find well armed civilians, you tend to see less of it. last i checked there hasnt been a mass shooting at a firing range, gun club, police station, or gun store... would you please care to explain this? because i'd love to hear your explanation of how these places where guns are more prevalent have a lower fatality rate than the places where guns are strictly prohibited.

Dr. Information

Out if the top ten safest cities to live in, Texas has two of the safest cities to live in, in 2012.


"Taking my gun away because I might shoot someone is like cutting my tongue out because I might yell `Fire!' in a crowded theater."

-- Peter Venetoklis
"A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
- George Washington


You quote should not be in quotes as it is not a quote from G Washington. Not sure where you found the part following the word disciplined - but I found the actual quote -

"A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies."
- George Washington

It would appear that your version actually wasn't even correct up to the word disciplined. Unfortunately, I generally do look things up even if I don't quote them online - I usually know what I'm talking about before spouting off at the mouth. The actual quote doesn't say anything about fighting against the government or having sufficient arms and ammunition.


Who appointed you arbiter of the truth of quotes found on the internet?


Nobody - but if you're going to try and prove a point by quoting someone - please quote them completely and the whole quote.



the above like is a photo with the paraphrased quote, which was broken down from the vernacular of the time the G.W. spoke into the form of english we speak today. verbatim, the quotes are the same, just spoken in two forms of the same language... differences like this occure over time... this is known as a change in vernacular... so, as you may be splitting hairs on this one, they mean the same thing. i.e., "sufficient arms and ammunition" means, "their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies." the only difference is the way it was said.

promote manufactories = making a sufficient amount. military supplies = arms and ammunition. to end a uniform and well-digested plan = to end tyranny or unlawful act, in the case the government... so you see... again you find yourself at the short end off a less than spectacular education...


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


Hmmm - I see your point. I also see that you left out a couple of details in your translation.

render them independent of others - independent of those used for civilian use... particularly military - I'd say this absolutely distinguishes civilian use arms from military use arms and although this isn't in the second amendment - it IS in this quote from George Washington. He was primarily trying to get the manufacturers to make sure they are manufacturing arms and ammunition specifically for military use so they would have them for future wars - such as the War of 1812 - which the military ran out of exactly those items and caused several battles to be lost including the burning of the white house in, I believe it was 1814. Further reading of this letter/document from G Washington - it specified the size of the lead ball which would be required for military use.
There was obviously some intent that military weapons would be different from civilian weapons even then.


steve... when the topic is referring to the government, the word independent in that statement is referring to the independence from said government... you got those ones switched up smart guy.

and no... the statement was taken to ensure the rights of safety for the civilian, not the suppression of the civilian. to make sure that not all of the guns and ammo were manufacture by the government but also by the populace to ensure that both sides were equally armed to ensure that fair and equal treatment would sustain. the balance of power is what that passage was about... try to spin your lies else where... you're proving the fool left and right here bud... you should have stopped a while ago..


guns and amo are not manufacturered by the government - not that I am aware - they have specs set for everyday manufacturers to follow. hence a separation of the two classes of weapons and ammo.


Cops in Cleveland shot two unarmed people involved in a car chase. 126 rounds were fired. Put those same cops in a school?

Being able to pass a ccw course doesn't mean a boost in IQ.


137 actually,


Thanks, that was my point.


Just knowing that someone is/can be armed is not a clean bill of health. It is meant as a deterrent and not a cure all. What part of that is not evident?


Re: "Just knowing that someone is/can be armed is not a clean bill of health"

It's the mental health part that concerns me. If you took all the people that are a "half a bubble off" out of CCW circle there would only be half of the number left.

Besides, like I said b4, the cows are out, millions of guns in circulation will not disappear by passing any gun laws. It's too little, too late.

Guns are big business, big money. Money talks, Bullspit.......


Back to square one...


RE she "learned Thursday how to safely use her 9 mm Ruger with a laser sight."

Is she going to wear a holster? Is she going to practice quick draw?


one should practice a smooth draw... slow is smooth, smooth is fast.


I don't know school safety issues now, but when I was in K-6, we had an outside door in every classroom that was locked from the outside and could be used from the inside. We were all taught how to use it in fire drills. That was in the early '60s.

Now, given that, and also locking the hall door from the inside and having an armed teacher, I see three ways to prevent what happened in Sandy Hook. JMHO.


I heard Lanza shot his way through a locked glass door. I guess all that was missing was an ARMED teacher.


All the doors to classrooms back then were solid wood or metal with 8x8 windows at head level. Excepting for the main entrance doors. Those kids could have had an escape route given the outside fire door for every classroom. By the time that the gunman had shot his way though the door to the classroom, the kids could've been evacuated through the other outlet along with the teacher and her gun drawn for protection. No need to huddle in a corner and be cannon fodder.

Dr. Information

If anyone thinks the 2nd amendment was about and ONLY about home protection, they are a complete fool and need to go take some serious history lessons. Our founding fathers wrote the second amendment and gave the right to the people to bear arms to protect themselves against ANYTHING, including their own government.

I guess some of you forgot when in our history this piece of paper was written. It wasn't today, it wasn't ten years ago. There was so much civil unrest between colonies and states and differing thoughts that GUNS were peoples only protection against their own government or the north or the south. They wrote this well knowing that guns could be used against them, but they wanted it that way. Remember, they wrote this for US....not THEM. Unlike our government today.

If it was just for HOME PROTECTION or hunting, why wouldn't they just of written it up that way? They are smart enough to write up one of the most important pieces of paper ever, yet made a mistake in the 2nd amendment. Bahahaha, liberals just need to take history lessons other than some opinion piece found on Google.


They were also a bunch of drunks. No one knows if they were drunk when they picked up the quill.....