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Group picks up where legislature left off on training school staff for gun use

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Remember the GOP bill in the legislature that would have provided gun training to designated staffers with concealed-weapons permits on Colorado’s K-12 campuses? The one that was approved by the Republican-controlled state Senate but, as anticipated, never made it past a “kill committee” in the Democratic-dominated House?

Well, Coloradans for Civil Liberties isn’t about to let it drop. In a news release today, the group announced it will offer privately the same kind of training that the legislature declined to bless with its official imprimatur. Though the new effort may be a cheeky end-run on lawmakers, point person Laura Carno, contacted for comment, says it’s all above-board; state law already allows concealed-carry permit holders to pack heat on campus if the school approves.

An estimated dozen mostly rural school districts, including the small Hanover School District 28 near Colorado Springs, have granted just such approval — essentially deputizing staff to enhance security given meager resources for full-time guards.

“It’s really up to the school,” Carno told us. Her group — whose motto is, “Restoring freedom one round at a time” — just wants to back up the credentials with some training.

“Current law has zero training requirements,” Carno said. “It just came down to if your school says it’s OK.”

That was basically the same argument made by Republican Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Parker, who sponsored the ultimately unsuccessful Senate Bill 5. Democrats weren’t interested and said even if the eligible staffers had their school’s OK, it still would eventually lead to more guns on campus.

Though the House Democrats seemed to feel it was too radical a policy shift, Carno’s group — which is affiliated with the libertarian-leaning, Denver-based Independence Institute and partnering with it on the training program — points out similar efforts have passed muster in less gun-friendly climes. The news release explains that its inspiration in fact comes from the not-so-Wild-West state of Ohio:

Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) has been taught in Ohio for the past five years, training nearly 900 school staff members. FASTER was the brainchild of Buckeye Firearms Foundation and Tactical Defense Institute, both in Ohio. The curriculum includes skills to stop active shooter situations, as well as advanced medical training to deal with related injuries such as gunshot wounds.

Application for registration for the first class in June is open to school staff who already have their Concealed Handgun Permit (CHL) and who have already been approved as a school security officer, or who are in the process of being approved, by their school board or charter school board, the press release states.

The program at first will be offered in Greeley with the help of the Weld County Sheriff’s Office and then will extend its reach statewide.

Some districts have a budget for such training; for faculty and staff from districts that don’t, there is a scholarship funded by concerned citizens, Carno says, to help defray the $1,000 tuition.

For more information, or to register for the FASTER class, go to FasterColorado.com.

Media questions? Contact Laura Carno at CO2ALiberties@gmail.com or 719-492-0211.

 

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