In California, the argument over how to protect schoolchildren is becoming a partisan political issue, with Republicans now offering a proposal to train teachers, administrators, and janitors in the use of firearms to guard the children, while Democrats assert that the Republican idea is “ludicrous.”
State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, of San Bernardino, has coauthored a proposal (AB 202) to use education funding to train school personnel in using firearms. Donnelly stated:
The idea is to create essentially an invisible line of defense around our kids. We have a moral obligation that the next Vicki Soto who is faced with inexplicable evil… not be left defenseless.
Soto was the teacher shot down at Sandy Hook Elementary School while protecting her students. Donnelly noted that if she had been armed, "she would have the ability to stop or at least slow down the killer."
Donnelly’s proposal was a response to more than ten proposals by Democrats to tighten gun laws, which he maintains are violations of the Second Amendment. AB 202, Donnelly explained, is a copy of the federal air marshal program, where armed officers in street clothes fly on commercial flights.
Donnelly was supported by Republican Assembly members Shannon Grove of Bakersfield, Curt Hagman of Chino Hills, Diane L. Harkey of Dana Point, Brian Jones of Santee, Donald P. Wagner of Irvine, and State Sen. Stephen Knight of Palmdale.
Democrats, however, were outraged by AB 202. Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) said:
With all due respect to my Republican colleagues, that [bill] is just absolutely ludicrous. I don't know of any educator who would be interested in packing a gun into a school."
Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) blurted, "The goal of school safety is not to see who can win a gunfight. It is to prevent shootings in the first place and keep guns out of schools."
The California Teachers' Association, which aligns with Democrats politically, agreed. President Dean Vogel stated, "Putting more guns in schools is really not the way to go. Armed security should be left to the experts."
Senator Yee's comments don't take into account the many teachers across the nation who have enrolled in firearm safety training since the Sandy Hook school shooting.