School shootings prompt more teachers to consider carrying guns

- Kasey Hansen didn’t like guns.

The special education teacher from the Salt Lake City region didn’t grow up in a family with guns, and had never gone hunting. She certainly didn’t think guns had a place schools.

“I was honestly scared of guns. I thought that they would just randomly go off, and that they were dangerous,” Hansen told Fox News.

But the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, which left 20 students and six staff members dead, changed her mind.

“I did not go into teaching thinking about a shooting in my school,” Hansen said. “But holing up inside a classroom and hoping the shooter doesn’t see you didn’t seem like a good idea. So I decided to take a class to get a concealed carry permit.”

Sandy Hook affected other teachers and school officials across the country, and sparked a national debate around the idea of arming educators. That debate has reignited in the weeks since 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people with an AR-15 assault rifle in his former Florida high school. 

“When you have these shootings it’s about the high number of casualties, and these shooters think they’re successful when more people die,” said a language arts teacher from rural Ohio, who asked not to be named. “But we can stop them and if I can save the life of just one student than I think it’s worth carrying a gun.”

Gun rights advocates say that since the Sandy Hook massacre, the number of individual teachers and school districts interested in arming themselves on campus has risen exponentially, with some programs having to put interested applicants on a waiting list to meet the demand. But if a teacher who gets a concealed carry permit can actually carry a weapon in school varies widely,  depending on the state they work in.

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