In response to a string of school shootings, the Utah Shooting Sports Council gave shooting and gun safety lessons to teachers who are trying to protect their students.
During the Utah Education Association break Friday, the council offered a free concealed weapons class, designed specifically for teachers and faculty members within schools, reported Bizpac Review. The lesson included discussion, live demonstration and practice scenarios for safe gun use in school environments.
Participants were granted the opportunity to pay a $49 fee to obtain a concealed carry license, which by Utah law would permit them to carry firearms in schools.
The classes have been offered in Utah since the early 2000s, but it wasn't until the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school that the classes took off and saw higher levels of participation, according to Reuters.
"A shooter who wants to end his life via suicide but take a whole bunch of other people with him, probably wants to pick a place to exact that evil plan without getting return fire," Utah Shooting Sports Council Clark Aposhian told KSL. "We are hoping to show that Utah schools and universities are not a place to do that."
Elementary school teacher Janette Pocock echoed Aposhian's sentiment, saying she feels more comfortable handling school lockdowns after participating in the course.
"Crises happen," she told KSL. "It's one thing to hide and be quiet, but there are times when people break into those classrooms, and if you have a gun, you're more likely to be able to handle that at the same level as the shooter than if you are just covered by chairs."
Some educators disagreed, saying faculty and staff handling firearms is not a good idea.
"Teachers have so much other training to undergo. They just aren't equipped to handle firearms," said retired elementary educator Malinda Lund.
"I just think about how much I love those kids and what could happen to them," Jordan School District elementary school teacher Shannon Diotaivti said. "What if you forget to lock the gun up?"
Ignoring the opposition, the Utah Sports Council said intends to continue holding such classes for educators in the future.
"We need to allow teachers, bus drivers, librarians and others to carry firearms if we are serious about protecting our kids," Aposhian concluded.