Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

January 20, 2013

State Rep. Jim Tomes sees support in prospect of arming teachers

INDIANAPOLIS — Republican state Sen. Jim Tomes says there may be growing support for his proposal to train more school teachers in the use of firearms.

Tomes, a gun-rights advocate from Wadesville, floated the idea of arming teachers in a December interview with an Indianapolis TV station when he was considering introducing legislation that would make it easier to do so.

Within days of the story, he heard from teachers and retired educators in Indiana and around the country who supported the idea.

“Two months ago, if we talked about this, we’d have been laughed off the face of the planet,” Tomes said. “Maybe now, there’s an opportunity to express some points of view that people never thought of, or refused to think about.”

What changed the conversation was the Dec. 14 shooting at a Connecticut school that left 20 children and six teachers dead.

In the wake of the shooting, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, who’s called for tougher gun control, said more guns in schools are not the answer: “Freedom is not a handgun on the hip of every teacher, and security should not mean a guard posted outside every classroom,” Malloy said.

But Tomes is convinced that giving teachers the option of carrying a concealed firearm needs to be part of the national debate over gun control that’s been raging since the Connecticut tragedy. Already, schoolteachers in Ohio, Utah and Texas are signing up for firearms training classes.

“I would not want to make this a mandate in any shape or fashion,” Tomes said. “I wouldn’t want anyone to carry a firearm who’s not comfortable with it. ... But for teachers who are willing to go through rigorous training and who are willing to act as the first responders to protect our children, they ought to have the right to do so.”

Tomes said Indiana law already gives schoolteachers that right.

A state law that allows schools to ban weapons from being brought onto their premises exempts anyone who has been employed or authorized by a school, “To act as a security guard, perform or participate in a school function, or participate in any other activity authorized by a school.”

Tomes’ hope is that more school corporations in Indiana will designate teachers or other employees to act as security officers and allow them to be armed. He also advocates that those school employees receive intensive training from an organization like the Indiana Firearms Association, whose members are certified firearms instructors.

“I won’t accept an argument that teachers can’t be trained as well as law enforcement officers,” Tomes said, adding that many police officers have had no firearms training before entering the state’s law enforcement academy.

Tomes has faced opposition from the Indiana State Teachers Association.

“I don’t think that proliferation of firearms on school property is good for kids,” ISTA president Nate Schnellenberger told the Associated Press.

Mike Ward, director of the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police, declined comment on Tomes’ proposal. The association favors proposed legislation, promoted by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, that would provide more state dollars to local school corporations to put more police officers in schools.

Tomes doesn’t oppose the legislation but, said it doesn’t go far enough. He said most schools will still only be able to afford to have one police officer on staff.

“(Police officers) are not super humans just by virtue of having a badge and uniform,” Tomes said. “They are merely mortals like the rest of us, they can only be in one place at one time.”

Maureen Hayden can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • South Ninth Street area under boil water order South Ninth Street, between East Jackson and Franklin streets in Goshen, is under a boil water order from noon until further notice.

    August 21, 2014

  • Police cars hit during multi-county chase According to Middlebury police, officer Gary Smith attempted to locate a silver Saturn leaving McDonald’s on Ind. 13, near U.S. 20 in Middlebury at 11:30 p.m. Monday.

    August 19, 2014

  • GN140820 hospital network hacked.jpg Kosciusko Community, Lutheran hospital among 206 hacked

    WARSAW — Community Health Systems, which operates 206 hospitals including Kosciusko Community Hospital and Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, announced Monday that hackers recently broke into its computers and stole data on 4.5 million patients.

    August 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rick Perry Indicted [GOSHEN NEWS] Texas' Gov. Perry indicted AUSTIN, Texas — A grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday for abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption — making the possible 2016 presidential hopeful his state's first indicted governor in nearly a century.

    August 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rail work to close U.S. 33 Sunday, Monday

    The Indiana Department of Transportation announced that U.S. 33 at Ninth Street, is scheduled to close the morning of Sunday, Aug. 17 as Norfolk Southern rebuilds its railroad crossing. 

    August 13, 2014

  • Obit Robin Williams_Selm.jpg Robin Williams, manic comedy star, dead at 63

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Robin Williams, the Academy Award winner and comic supernova whose explosions of pop culture riffs and impressions dazzled audiences for decades and made him a gleamy-eyed laureate for the Information Age, died Monday in an apparent suicide. He was 63.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast Israel Palestinians-12 [GOSHEN NEWS] Israel accepts Egypt's Gaza cease-fire proposal CAIRO — Israel and the Hamas militant group on Sunday accepted a renewed Egyptian cease-fire proposal, clearing the way for the resumption of talks on a long-term truce meant to end a month of heavy fighting in the Gaza Strip that has taken nearly 2,000 lives.

    August 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast Iraq [GOSHEN NEWS] US officials: New round of airstrikes near Irbil NEW DELHI — American officials say the U.S. launched a second round of airstrikes against Islamic State targets near Irbil on Friday, using drones and fighter jets. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to

    August 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Millersburg under boil order

    August 5, 2014

  • Concord classrooms will get technology update

    August 4, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream Raw: Woman Escorted From Ferguson Protests California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Holder Hopes to Bring Calm to Ferguson US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man
Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results