Peaslee said the instructors presented useful information on what teachers can do to protect students in the event of an attack, as well as ideas for items that can be used against an attacker, such as a classroom fire extinguisher or a bottle of hornet spray.
There have been bomb and gun threats during his teaching career, Peaslee said, but he noticed a particular shift in the school atmosphere after the Connecticut shooting.
"The stress level just went up tremendously," he said.
Groups opposed to guns in schools criticized the NRA's statements and dismissed proposals for loosening gun laws and arming teachers. In New York, for example, New York City Chancellor Dennis Walcott told the New York Daily News, “The NRA is wrong. Putting an armed guard in every school building is not the answer."
Thursday Utah State Board of Education Chairwoman Debra Roberts issued a measured response in a prepared statement on gun training for Utah educators, urging caution and thoughtful consideration as schools review their safety policies.
"Schools in Utah have developed emergency plans to handle such situations," Roberts said. "The board encourages all Utah schools to review their emergency plans, working with local law enforcement agencies, with the safety of students in all situations the primary concern."
OPSGEAR CEO David Burnell said more people carrying guns isn't necessarily the answer to gun violence, but that when used safely, a gun can be a powerful tool. During Thursday's course, Burnell emphasized that it was up to the participants to decide for themselves if they felt comfortable owning a gun and carrying it in a school.
"We want to save lives," he said.
Aposhian said schools are supposed to be sanctuaries, and the tragedy in Connecticut crossed a line that requires a change of thinking about guns and violence. He said a teacher who is properly trained and certified for gun ownership could function as a first responder in the event of a shooting.
"There's two different kinds of guns: guns in the good guys' hands and guns in the bad guys' hands," Aposhian said. "Let's get one more option besides hiding behind a desk."
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