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New Legislation Proposed To Arm Oklahoma Teachers

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

Gov. Fallin's desk is the next stop for a bill allowing teachers to carry guns in schools.

This is the first time the effort to arm school workers has gained enough traction.

The legislation is not designed for an Oklahoma City or Tulsa sized school district, but if the governor signs House Bill 2014 when it crosses her desk this week, any school district in the state will have the authority to designate a school worker to carry a handgun.

It's meant to serve as a last line of defense in the event of a school emergency.

“There's always someone out there who has evil intent on their mind,” said Rep. Jeff Coody.

Freshman Rep. Jeff Coody has been pushing the controversial legislation that could soon have some educators across the state also acting as protectors.

“And I think the thinking has always been that if we eliminate guns, it makes it a safer place. The only problem is you cannot eliminate those who are not willing to comply with the law,” said Coody.

So Coody says the only response to that is to introduce responsible school workers to training so they're able to carry a handgun.

“A gun-free zone is a target, a soft target,” said Coody.

“We cannot play games anymore. These are the lives of our children,” said Ginger Tinney, Exec. Dir. Professional Oklahoma Educators.

Tinney surveyed more than 800 of her members across the state. That was just after 26 people, 20 students, and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.

“And so the emotion was high,” said Tinney. “They just saw children killed. They're upset.”

A school district's board of education can designate a school employee to attend an armed security guard training program, or reserve peace officer program.

“We have to be able to stand up against the challenges that we face now a days that are unique,” said Tinney.

“It's simply those who feel that it is a need in their district, in their school,” said Coody.

Arming school workers would be up to the district and completely voluntary.

Coody says rural school districts will benefit the most because many can't afford campus security.

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