Gun supporters pleaded with Colorado lawmakers Wednesday to pass a bill that would allow school employees to carry concealed guns on campus.
As reported by the Denver Post, several gun rights advocates showed their support at a hearing for Senate Bill 5, which would authorize school employees with concealed carry permits to carry concealed firearms once they have completed a training conducted by county sheriffs.
Republican Rep. Patrick Neville, sponsor of the proposal, said the bill is about trying to make schools safer for everyone.
Dan Murphy, of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, also expressed support for the legislation, saying that armed school employees could help prevent and possibly stop active shooters.
“We feel that somebody who acts out in a mass shooting doesn’t care about a ‘No Gun’ sign on the front door,” he said. “If a teacher is uncomfortable to carry, they don’t have to. But why don’t they give the teachers who do their proper training. The teachers are properly vetted to carry and I ask for a yes vote.”
Opponents of the bill let their voices be known as well. Reverend Wayne Laws spoke at a rally outside the Capitol building before the hearing took place.
“More guns equals more gun violence,” said the Rev. Laws. “Why are Americans more likely to die by guns than are developing countries? This bill is a new twist on the same old bad idea. This is a pathway for opening up guns at schools.”
Family members of victims from Sandy Hook, Aurora and Columbine all testified against the legislation. Tom Mauser, whose son Daniel was fatally shot at Columbine, argued putting more guns in schools was not the right way to offer more protection.
“Often, the presence of guns creates problems, and if we think adding more guns will solve this epidemic, we’re wrong,” Mauser said. “This is not about mass shootings. This is about everyday shootings — domestic violence, the drunk ones and even mental health issues.
“I’ve wished for a lot of things, but having more guns in schools is not one of them.”