DENVER — The targeting of a Colorado schoolteacher by an armed teen last year didn’t sway Colorado Democrats on Tuesday to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons on campus.
A Democratic House Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 to reject another Republican bill to expand gun rights. The bill would have allowed school districts to decide if they wanted to let teachers, not just designated school resource officers, carry concealed weapons.
Similar Republican proposals have been made before without success, but the suggestion had additional resonance after last year’s shooting at Arapahoe High School, in which a student targeted a teacher.
“I can think of no safer way at this point to address school violence,” said Steve Reams, a Weld County Republican running for sheriff there.
Supporters of the idea were far outnumbered by teachers and students who packed the hearing to speak against the idea.
“There’s no reason for teachers to have guns in school when we’re trying to keep guns out of schools in the first place,” said Karina Vargas, who was paralyzed in 2010 from a shooting outside Aurora Central High.
A similar measure allowing armed teachers is pending in the Wyoming Legislature.
The Colorado hearing came a week after a poll showed Coloradans narrowly say public schoolteachers should be armed. The Quinnipiac University Poll found that voters favored arming teachers to prevent violence in schools 50 percent to 45 percent.
The poll of 1,139 voters was conducted from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2 and had a sampling error margin of 2.9 percentage points.
Democrats say school security should be left to armed officers, not teachers.
“There’s no reason for teachers to have guns in school when we’re trying to keep guns out of schools in the first place.”
Woman who was paralyzed in 2010 from a shooting outside Aurora Central High