SALT LAKE CITY -- “Stop. Drop your weapon. Don’t shoot.”
Kasey Hansen yelled as she pointed the barrel of her loaded handgun at a target’s chest at a shooting range outside Salt Lake City.
“I want to protect my students,” Hansen said. “I’m going to stand in front of a bullet for any student that is in my protection and so I want another option to defend us.”
Hansen is one of an unknown number of armed teachers across the country. Legally gun-owning adults are now allowed to carry guns in public schools in more than two dozen states, from kindergarten classrooms to high school hallways. Seven of those states specifically allow teachers and other school staff to carry guns in their schools.
A News21 examination of open records laws in those states found that those who do choose to carry their firearm into their classrooms are not required to divulge the information to principals, other teachers, students or parents. Only five of those states have completely open access to concealed carry permit information through public records requests. Some state’s laws completely seal off those records and others are silent on the issue.
That means there is no way of telling how many teachers are taking advantage of the option to be armed. School administrations can decide to gather the information, but it’s more of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” situation. There is no record of who has a gun in any school in any state.
This is good news but teachers who carry at school definitely need special training.