Crosses and flowers laid out in the public square of the grief-stricken town Uvalde, where a teen gunman killed 19 students and two teachers, are an all-too-familiar scene igniting a call to arms for teachers in Texas and beyond.
The Republican-led Texas legislature is addressing the twin issues of school safety and mass violence following the May 24 Uvalde, Texas, school shooting. Committees of lawmakers are reviewing past legislative efforts, such as the Guardian and Marshal programs that allow teachers to carry firearms in the hopes of hardening schools as targets. School officials and firearm trainers in the Lone Star State say interest has risen sharply since the recent shooting.
Jeff Sellers owns Schools on Target, a company in Marble Falls, Texas, that trains teachers to carry firearms in schools. Since the school shooting, Sellers told The Epoch Times that he has added nine additional classes—double the amount customarily held—for June through August.
“I’ve gotten an insane amount of calls,” Sellers said. “It hasn’t stopped. Ninety percent is because of Uvalde.”
Bryan Proctor, owner of Go Strapped Firearms Training in Arlington, Texas, told The Epoch Times much the same thing—that training requests for the Guardian program have skyrocketed.
“We’ve had about a 100 percent increase,” Proctor said. “It’s been pretty dramatic. I’ve sent out over 20 proposals in the past week.”
Proctor said teachers want to protect their students and themselves, despite what people may be hearing form the select voices in legacy media.
“What you’re seeing is a vocal minority,” Proctor said. Arming teachers isn’t about giving them something else to be responsible for—but instead giving them a tool as a last defense.
Elsewhere, state legislatures are investigating how to make schools safer and arm teachers.
Louisiana is currently looking at legislation similar to Texas, allowing teachers to carry guns in schools after receiving specialized training. Ohio’s latest bill aims to be less restrictive than the current law, mandating 700 hours of police training and board approval before allowing teachers to be armed.