The Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) announced in a January 9 release that over 1,000 educators have applied for its partner foundation's Armed Teacher Training Program first publicized December 20, 2012. Applications are still being accepted via online survey.
"The original intent was to simply offer free firearm training to 24 teachers in order to show that teachers could be an effective deterrent to mass murder in schools," BFA wrote.
In the wake of the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, interest from teachers and other school employees was much higher than the pro-Second Amendment group anticipated.
"After three weeks, we have received well over 1,000 requests for this training. So while the goal is still the same, the scope of this program has changed significantly," BFA explained before answering a number of frequently asked questions.
Employment as an educator and a valid concealed carry permit in the applicant's state of employment are the only prerequisites for the Armed Teacher Training Program, which will build on the basics taught in concealed carry classes.
BFA mentioned that "medical trauma care, mindset, general school security, etc." may be covered in the training, but that the program "will focus primarily on armed response to an 'active killer' scenario."
The program will be free of charge for those who enroll, with all costs - currently estimated at $1,000 per student - to be paid by the nonprofit Buckeye Firearms Foundation. While most of the 1,048 applicants as of January 9 were from Ohio, educators from other states have also signed up.
"Based on the current 1,000+ applicants, about 60% are men and 40% are women," BFA wrote. "More than 70% are teachers, 14% are administrators, and the balance are office staff and other employees. About 85% work in public schools and over 50% work in high schools. There's a fairly even distribution among urban, suburban, and rural schools."
"About 55% have moderate to extensive firearm experience, 70% have experience with handguns, and more than 40% already have a license to carry a concealed firearm. A number of these applicants are ex-military and former law enforcement."
Buckeye Firearms Foundation plans to hold the first Armed Teacher Training Program class this spring, and intends to "select a wide variety of educators, including teachers, administrators, and other staff members" from the applicant pool in order to better develop curriculum.
"Even a full SWAT team can't guarantee absolute safety in any given school," BFA acknowledged. "What we can guarantee is that if a school has no one on-site who can respond to an active killer threat, people are going to die until someone can respond. Dozens of people can be killed in just 5 or 10 minutes. So fast response is essential."
"The vast majority of teachers did not sign up to carry guns and have no interest in doing so. But for volunteers who have the motivation, skills, and training, and who want to provide a critical layer of security for their school, we need to give them the tools to stop 'active killers' as fast as possible."
BFA noted that Ohio Revised Code 2923.122 gives school boards the option of allowing employees with concealed carry permits to carry firearms on Ohio campuses, which are otherwise designated as "gun-free zones."
The National Education Association (NEA), America's largest labor union, opposes Second Amendment rights as a matter of progressive principle. As such, the Ohio Education Association (OEA) is against giving properly-trained teachers the option to concealed carry on school property.
"Policy makers should re-examine the expanded availability of weapons in public places, not add schools to the list. Instead of arming educators, they can enhance school safety with more counselors, better mental health services and partnering with local police to deter violence in schools," OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks said in a press release.
Although the Newtown shooting occurred in a "gun-free zone" in what the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence rates as the state with the nation's 5th-strongest gun control laws, the teachers union has called for additional gun control - and, naturally, increased education spending.
Cross-posted from Media Trackers Ohio.