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Ainsworth introducing bill to arm teachers in Alabama schools

Teachers, school administrators and law enforcement joined the state representative Tuesday morning to show their support for the bill.

Posted: Feb. 20, 2018 8:26 AM
Updated: Feb. 20, 2018 12:22 PM

State Rep. Will Ainsworth said he plans to introduce legislation Tuesday that would allow teachers to go through certification that would allow them to carry firearms at school.

The Republican representative from Guntersville said he planned to head to Montgomery and introduce the bill after finishing a news conference in Guntersville Tuesday morning.

"Our kids do not need to be sitting ducks. Our teachers do not need to be defending themselves with a number two pencil," Ainsworth said.

The bill is a response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14 that left 17 people dead. 

"This started out the day of the shooting, with coaches, with teachers reaching out to me saying 'Will, we need help,'" Ainsworth said.

The new bill would make it an option for teachers to carry a gun at school after going through 40 hours of training with the Alabama Peace Officers' Standards and Training Commission. The training cost would be paid for by the state, and teachers would have to be re-certified annually, he said.

"These are going to be certified people," Ainsworth said. "They're going to be well-trained."

Teachers would also have to undergo a mental health evaluation before they would be allowed to carry.

The bill doesn't address having school resource officers in every school or having funding for school safety measures such as cameras, Ainsworth said. He said he supports those measures.

Ainsworth was joined by DeKalb County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Michael Edmondson, Marshall County Sheriff Scott Walls, Marshall County Schools Superintendent Cindy Wigley and DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Jason Barnett who all spoke in favor of the measure.

State Sen. Clay Scofield and Reps. Kerry Rich and Nathaniel Ledbetter also spoke in favor of Ainsworth's bill.

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