Armed teachers: State Rep. Will Ainsworth to introduce legislation for firearms training
Rep. Will Ainsworth has begun drafting legislation that would establish a framework for some teachers to be trained and armed with firearms, to prevent more massacres like the one that occurred yesterday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“I think just common sense tells you if that coach would have had a gun, you know, as soon as that guy had stepped into the classroom, he could have ended the situation,” Ainsworth told Yellowhammer News.
Ainsworth was referring to Aaron Feis, a football coach at the Florida high school, who was shot yesterday while shielding students from gunfire. Feis later died from his wounds.
Ainsworth said that he has been considering this kind of legislation for some time.
“Michigan just passed a bill, so we’re looking at a lot of different states, and hopefully have a piece of legislation at the start of next week that we’re going to drive.”
This offers another state legislature an opportunity to act upon the issue of mass shootings, on which the United States Congress has made little progress over the years.
“My phone has been blowing up with people asking us to get something passed. Educators, teachers, parents that are concerned about this, and I think it’s something we’ve got to look at and have a conversation about, and try to address in Alabama,” Ainsworth said.
Ainsworth’s legislation has a few priorities: arming teachers who want to be armed, setting up a framework of approval for those to be armed from school principals or superintendents, and making sure teachers who are approved go through the proper training.
“We’ve got to make sure that whoever’s going to have these guns in the schools, that they’re actually properly getting trained, and that there’s a mechanism in place to make sure that kids in the school systems can’t get their hands on these weapons.”
Ainsworth also noted that his approach would be a better way to protect children than hiring more school resource officers because teachers are all over the schools and are with the students.
“The amount of security you would need to properly do that would be a lot.”
Reiterating a common argument among conservatives against gun control measures, Ainsworth said that at the end of the day, bad people are going to acquire guns any way they can.
“My opinion is that guns don’t kill people – evil people do. The data backs it up. Gun control doesn’t work,” he said, citing high homicide rates in Chicago despite strict gun control laws.
Those advocating stricter gun laws generally respond to such arguments by pointing to the fact that many of the guns coming into Chicago come from other states with less strict laws, such as Indiana.
“More gun control will not stop someone who is intent upon inflicting harm in our schools, but someone who is properly trained and armed with the right equipment certainly can,” Ainsworth said in a Thursday statement. “It is my hope that passage of this legislation can be fast-tracked once it has been introduced.”