Armed Teacher Training Program to Provide Free Training to Educators

DELAWARE, OH - Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) announced they have launched a program to provide firearm training to teachers free of charge.

The announcement was made at a Town Hall Meeting at Ohio State University Thursday evening where participants debated the gun control issue in light of the recent mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Ken Hanson, BFA's Legal Chair, made the announcement, saying, "Teachers and school board members have been asking us for years about training to prepare for an incident like Sandy Hook. So our educational Foundation will sponsor an Armed Teacher Training Program for a comprehensive 3-day class. Based on the response, we will roll out classes to several training facilities."

The program will begin by accepting 24 teachers. All expenses, including class tuition, ammunition, and lodging (which are expected to total approximately $1,000 per teacher), will be paid by Buckeye Firearms Foundation and outside donations. Officials will be invited to attend the class at no cost to help develop appropriate training guidelines.

"The long-term goal is to develop a standard Armed Teacher curriculum and make the training available to any teacher or school official," said Hanson. "To begin, we will use funds from our educational foundation and solicit donations from corporations to pay for the program. Going forward, we will seek funding from a variety of sources to expand the training."

BFA's educational foundation is finalizing details of the Armed Teacher Training Program and will provide further details as the program takes shape.

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Media Coverage:

ABC World News Tonight - Utah Teachers Flock to Gun Training

In Ohio, the Buckeye Firearms Association is launching a pilot armed teacher training program in which 24 teachers will be selected to attend a three-day training class.

Armed American Radio

Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman Jim Irvine was a guest on the Armed American Radio Network, in conjunction with the United States Concealed Carry Association. Jim discussed the announcement that Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) has launched a pilot program to provide firearm training to teachers free of charge with Armed American Radio (AAR) host Mark Walters. Armed American Radio is broadcast live from the Intelligent Talk 920 WGKA studios in Atlanta and syndicated nationally by Salem Radio Network.

Associated Press - Ohio gun group offers shooting lessons to teachers (picked up by news outlets across the state and around the country, including Fox News & MSN)

Following the killing of 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Conn., an Ohio-based gun group says it is launching a test program to train teachers how to use firearms.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the Buckeye Firearms Association says it will initially accept applications from 24 teachers for its Armed Teacher Pilot Program. The three-day firearm-training class will be held at the Tactical Defense Institute in West Union. The association will pay for the training, including lodging and ammunition.

Association legal chairman Ken Hanson said in a statement that teachers and school board members have been "asking us for years" for this kind of training. He said the group's long-term goal is to develop a standard curriculum and make the training available to any teacher or school official.

CBS News - Gun classes for teachers may be catching on in wake of Newtown massacre

In Ohio, the Buckeye Firearms Association said it was launching a test program in tactical firearms training for 24 teachers initially.

Columbus Dispatch - Group offers shooting lessons to teachers

In response to the massacre of 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., an Ohio-based gun group has launched a test program to train teachers how to use firearms.

The Buckeye Firearms Association announced that it initially will accept applications from 24 teachers for the Armed Teacher Pilot Program, a three-day firearm-training class at the Tactical Defense Institute in West Union, Ohio. The association will pay expenses for the training, including lodging and ammunition.

"Teachers and school board members have been asking us for years about training to prepare for an incident like Sandy Hook," Ken Hanson, the association's legal chairman, said in a statement.

"The long-term goal is to develop a standard Armed Teacher curriculum and make the training available to any teacher or school official. To begin, we will use funds from our educational foundation and solicit donations from corporations to pay for the pilot program. Going forward, we will seek funding from a variety of sources to expand the program."

Amid a national debate about gun control in the wake of the Newtown murders, the National Rifle Association has called for placing armed guards in all American schools.

Cleveland Plain Dealer - Buckeye Firearms Association offers free training to teachers after Sandy Hook Elementary shootings

CLEVELAND, Ohio — In response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the Buckeye Firearms Association has announced it will provide teachers with free firearms training.

The pro-gun advocacy organization said it would pay all expenses, including tuition, ammunition and lodging (estimated at $1,000 each) for 24 teachers to get comprehensive three-day training at Tactical Defense Institute in West Union, Ohio. If there is more demand, the Armed Teacher Pilot Program will be expanded to more sites.

The Buckeye Firearms Foundation will pay for the training.

Buckeye Firearms representative Jim Reese said during a broadcast of the Sound of Ideas on WCPN FM/90.3 Thursday: "We need to examine how we enhance the safety of our children in that environment. The first responder in a situation such as what we had in that school has got to be the teachers. You've got to educate the teacher, and when you look at the folks who stop these things while they're in progress, it typically is someone else who is armed."

Lori O'Neill, vice chairman of the Gun Victims Action Council, responded: "Introducing more guns into every situation we have has been has been the answer of the NRA for 30 years. We tried it your way, now we're going to try it a different way. Most good, common-sense Americans who I would put my trust in do not believe putting guns in schools around their children is in any way a solution to the occasional idiot that we have permitted to have unfettered access to any kind of guns and ammunition he wants."

On Friday, the NRA called for armed police officers to patrol every school, and blamed video games, movies and music for exposing children daily to violence.

Fox News Radio "The Alan Colmes Show" -

Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman Jim Irvine was a guest on Fox News Radio's "The Alan Colmes Show." Jim discussed the announcement that Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) has launched a pilot program to provide firearm training to teachers free of charge. "The Alan Colmes Show" is broadcast live and syndicated nationally by Fox News Radio. Click here to listen to the broadcast.

Gannett News Service - Group offers free firearm training for Ohio teachers (appearing in several Central Ohio newspapers)

A few Ohio teachers will be given free gun training, and at least one firearm instructor said arming select educators could work to deter violence if done by the right people with the right training.

The Buckeye Firearms Association on Thursday announced a pilot program to give firearms training to two dozen educators for free. The announcement came at a town hall sponsored by the state gun lobby at which participants debated gun control in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

"Teachers and school board members have been asking us for years about training to prepare for an incident like Sandy Hook," Ken Hanson, BFA's legal chairman, said in a statement. "Based on the response to this pilot program, we will roll out classes to other training facilities."

The initial Armed Teacher Pilot Program will offer 24 teachers a three-day training class at the Tactical Defense Institute in West Union. All expenses, including tuition, ammunition and lodging, will be paid by the foundation and outside donations. It is expected to cost about $1,000 per teacher.

Having an armed staffer at school makes sense to Sgt. Scott Wagner, a Central Ohio police officer, firearms instructor and former SWAT team leader and sniper. Having someone trained to handle a shooter could prevent or reduce a tragedy, especially because assailants typically aren't expecting any resistance.

"They don't tend to hold up well when someone points a gun back at them," he said. "They can inflict a lot of pain on other people, but they can’t take it themselves."

Wagner said numerous precautions would have to be taken before giving any educator a weapon at school, however. He suggested starting with the pool of employees who have a concealed carry permit because they already have gone through some training. Volunteers from that pool then would have to undergo intensive interviews with police to ensure they have the proper mental makeup to handle a weapon in a crisis.

Finally, the person would need to undergo intensive firearms training and be recertified annually.

For such a program to work, Wagner said which educators are carrying a weapon must be kept a secret. To make them public would make them targets, he said. He said he thinks ordinary educators interested in the subject could make a difference if given the tools.

"It has to be someone who is competent and capable and volunteers to do this," Wagner said. "It takes the right the person and the right training."

However, the legality of even allowing teachers to be armed is in question. Hollie Reedy, chief legal counsel for the Ohio School Boards Association, said doing so would require a change in state law.

Although Ohio law has a couple of sections that relate to who is allowed to bring weapons within school buildings, Reedy cited ORC 109.78, which states no public or private educational institution may employ an individual as a special police officer, security guard or other position in which they are armed on duty, unless they have a certificate proving they have completed basic peace officer training or have 20 years of active duty experience as a police officer.

"Those are the only people right now that can be armed while on duty at a school," she said.

Peace officer training is 1,500 hours, Reedy said.

"It's not like your weekend personal security classes," she said.

Reedy said the law goes back at least to 2000, and probably as far back as the 1970s in some form, since a court case exists involving a school security guard in Columbus who accidentally shot a student after using a loaded gun to prod the teenager in the back and the gun fired.

"One of the issues was that he did not have the 1,500 hours of basic peace officer training," she said.

A separate section, ORC 2923.122, allows school boards to give written authorization to a person to possess a weapon in a school.

Reedy said the OSBA will be "at the table" in discussion of how schools deal with security issues in the wake of the Connecticut shooting. The association has taken no position pro or con, on changes in the law to allow teachers to be armed on school premises. However, it would work to ensure that laws are written flexibly so school boards retain local control for policies that fit their communities, she said.

Hanson said the long-term goal of his organization's training program is to develop a standard course for all teachers and school officials. The first class is to be announced in early January. The group promised to keep identities of the participants confidential.

The Independent (Massilion, OH) & Canton Repository - State lawmakers expect to debate gun control

Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, a grassroots political action committee (PAC) that defends and advances the rights of Ohioans to own and use firearms for legal activities such as self-defense, hunting and recreation, said the country is ready for meaningful change following the Newtown, Conn., shooting.

"We need to take some time and learn from (Sandy Hook). I'm willing to look at everything that works because, at the end of the day, this is not about guns, it's about safety," Irvine said. "... A lot of people are sick at what happened. All of us have kids, nieces, nephews or some friend with kids that we can relate to. It just rips your guts out. We've had it. It's not me. It's the whole country. We've had it with our kids dying."

Irvine said a comprehensive approach is needed to prevent mass shootings in the future, including arming teachers and training victims to fight back. Knee-jerk reactions to events rarely accomplish much, he added.

"We need to change the mindset. We have told our teachers and our kids that fighting is wrong and if you have any infraction, you will be expelled," Irvine said. "Fighting is not the first course of solving any problem, but there are times when you need to fight."

It would be too costly, Irvine said, to put armed guards inside every school building in the U.S. as National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre suggested last week during a news conference. However, teachers should be given the option of receiving training and carrying a firearm, Irvine said.

"I'm not saying we should arm all the teachers, but we should allow the teachers who want to carry a gun to do so," he said.

KOGO 600 AM (San Diego) "Chip Franklin Mornings" -

Buckeye Firearms Association Region Leader Joe Eaton was a guest on Chip Franklin Mornings. Joe discussed the announcement that Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) has launched a pilot program to provide firearm training to teachers free of charge. Click here to listen to the podcast.

KPAM 860 AM (Portland) "The Victoria Taft Show" -

Buckeye Firearms Association Region Leader Joe Eaton was a guest on The Victoria Taft Show. Joe discussed the announcement that Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) has launched a pilot program to provide firearm training to teachers free of charge. Click here to listen to the podcast.

Lancaster Eagle-Gazette - Efforts to limit gun ownership spark local debate

Gerard Valentino, the co-founder for the Buckeye Firearms Association and a Pickerington resident, disagrees.

"When someone responds to a spree killing with a gun, the death toll is considerably lower," Valentino said.

Valentino said people always should have the opportunity to defend themselves.

"Arm teachers who choose to be armed. Allow CCW holders to carry in schools," he said. "We need more people with the ability to fight back."

Valentino said he expects to see national and possibly state legislation that will allow people to carry guns in schools.

"The only way to keep people from killing other people is to kill them first," he said.

NRANews.com -

Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman Jim Irvine was a guest on NRANews.com. Jim discussed the announcement that Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) has launched a pilot program to provide firearm training to teachers free of charge with Cam Edwards on Cam & Company.

StateImpact Ohio - Free Gun Training for Teachers in Wake of Newtown Shootings

WOSU's Steve Brown reports that the Buckeye Firearms Association will offer a free, three-day "firearm training" course for Ohio teachers next year:

The first three-day course for 24 teachers is scheduled for early next month. The course will include class tuition, ammunition, and lodging. "The long-term goal is to develop a standard Armed Teacher curriculum and make the training available to any teacher or school official," said Ken Hanson, the organization's legal chair.

The (UK) Telegraph - Teachers get lessons in how to handle armed assaults

In Ohio, the Buckeye Firearms Association said it was launching a test programme in tactical firearms training for 24 teachers initially, while in Arizona this week the State's attorney general launched a proposal to allow any school to train and arm its head or another staff member.

USA Today - Trainer for gun-toting teachers: 'Make it harder to kill a kid'

In Ohio, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation is swamped with 20 times more applications — from teachers and administrators to custodians and bus drivers -- than they have space for in a three-day tactical defense course to be offered this this spring.

Jim Irvine, president of the Ohio foundation, said Thursday that the $1,000 per person Armed Teacher Training Program would be free for the 24 people selected from more than 400 applicants. "What better use for an educational foundation than to help educators protect our children," he said.

It is legal in Ohio to bring a concealed weapon on school grounds if a school district has granted permission. Irvine expects more will do so since the Sandy Hook killings.

"School boards were just in denial. That denial got ripped away in Newtown, Conn. The idea is to make it hard to kill a kid," he said.

The school personnel chosen for the class must already have basic firearms training and a concealed carry permit and come to the Tactical Defense Institute in rural West Union, Ohio, with their own handgun, holster, extra magazines and speed loaders.

WBAL 1090 AM (Baltimore) "Maryland News Now" -

Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman Jim Irvine was a guest on Maryland News Now. Jim discussed the Buckeye Firearms Foundation announcement of the Armed Teacher Pilot Program designed to provide free training to educators with guest host Kelly Lynn.

WBNS (CBS Columbus) -

WKSU (NPR Kent) - Free Gun Training for Teachers in Wake of Newtown Shootings

WOSU's Steve Brown reports that the Buckeye Firearms Association will offer a free, three-day "firearm training" course for Ohio teachers next year:

The first three-day course for 24 teachers is scheduled for early next month. The course will include class tuition, ammunition, and lodging. "The long-term goal is to develop a standard Armed Teacher curriculum and make the training available to any teacher or school official," said Ken Hanson, the organization's legal chair.

The Ohio firearm rights-advocacy group's offer comes as the National Rifle Association calls for placing armed guards in schools. From NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre's public statement today:

"I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January."

We also got a note this week from a retired Central Ohio teacher who says that teachers aren't the only ones who might need training. The "real first responders" are our school secretaries and receptionists, who are often the first ones to greet the parents and the public, she says.

WLW 700 AM (Cincinnati) "The Big Show with Bill Cunningham" -

Buckeye Firearms Association Southwest Ohio Region Leader Joe Eaton was a guest on The Big Show with Bill Cunningham. Joe discussed the Buckeye Firearms Foundation announcement of the Armed Teacher Pilot Program designed to provide free training to educators with host Bill Cunningham. Click here to listen to the podcast.

WLW 700 AM (Cincinnati) "The Big Show with Bill Cunningham" -

Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman Jim Irvine was a guest on The Big Show with Bill Cunningham. Jim discussed the Buckeye Firearms Foundation announcement of the Armed Teacher Pilot Program designed to provide free training to educators with guest host Dan Carroll. Click here to listen to the podcast.

WOSU (NPR Columbus) - Firearms Organization Offers Free Gun Training To Teachers

A local gun rights organization is offering free firearms training to teachers.

The Buckeye Firearms Association announced the new training at a townhall meeting Thursday night. The first three-day course for 24 teachers is scheduled for early next month. The course will include class tuition, ammunition, and lodging.

"The long-term goal is to develop a standard Armed Teacher curriculum and make the training available to any teacher or school official," said Ken Hanson, the organization’s legal chair.

"To begin, we will use funds from our educational foundation and solicit donations from corporations to pay for the pilot program. Going forward, we will seek funding from a variety of sources to expand the program."

The state will also begin offering "first-responder" training to teachers. Attorney General Mike DeWine says the course beginning January 14 will focus on identifying a potential attacker, and what to do in the event of a school shooting or other emergency.

DeWine says the decision to arm teachers in classrooms should rest with local school boards.

WRGT (Fox Dayton) -

WSYX (ABC Columbus) - Ohio Group Wants To Train Teachers To Use Guns

Gerard Valentino, a spokesman for the Buckeye Firearms Association, argued it would cost school districts less to train an entire staff to carry a weapon, than hire one additional resource officer, and the best way to make guns a deterrent is to create an element of surprise.

"It has to be anonymous. We've had people say: 'Let's just arm principals.' [Then] the person who comes into the school and finds the principal and shoots him or her first," Valentino predicted.

Ohio statute allows school boards to decide who can carry a concealed weapon in their district.

...Valentino believes school board members across the state are increasingly open to the idea. The Ohio Attorney General expressed support for the idea earlier this week.

WSYX (ABC Columbus) - Debate Over Arming Teachers

The Buckeye Firearms Association offered a free three-day tactical defense and gun training session to twenty-four Ohio teachers. Nearly five hundred school workers from across the state have expressed interest. Ken Hanson with Buckeye Firearms says they are all types of workers, "Elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, principals, school secretaries, lunchroom workers, custodians, teachers—all of these people have been responding. This is not basic training. This is not people sitting in a classroom learning this is a barrel, this is a trigger, this is a grip."

WTAP (NBC Marietta) - Arming Teachers to Protect Schools

The debate about arming teachers to protect schools is getting a lot of attention. One Ohio Group says we owe it to the teachers and they're paying to train them how to shoot.

It's a three-day firearms-training class through the Buckeye Firearms Association. The Armed Teacher Pilot Program will be at the Tactical Defense Institute in West Union.

The Organization says they hope to provide the skills and mindset to save kids lives. They plan to run the pilot class, review it with students and state officials and then add more trainings.

"What we want to do is, it doesn't end at this class, the demand far exceeds 24, obviously that doesn't do a big enough deterrent. Run a pilot class then analyze our results, talk to the students, see did this work for you, did we hit the mark on the class. Make any adjustments that we need to do and then roll it out to the rest of the state or even nation," explains Chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, Jim Irvine.

The organizations has 24 openings for the pilot class and they say they've gotten hundreds of application. Of the 24 they say it will be school administrators, teachers, and even maintenance from all of the state.

"You want every school to be able to have... somebody with skills. And you know what, it could be that someone finishes up this class and goes, I really, I still can't do it or I can't get permission, or this isn't going to work, but they're still going to take away some other mind set things they can use in their schools to keep kids safe. They're going to take away some casualty care, treating wounded that will make kids safer."

The foundation says anyone that works in the school environment can apply, teachers, administrators, even maintenance.

And everyone in training is completely volunteering.

They say they've been working on the program for years and it's now there is a big push for it.

"It's something that I and other people have been interested in for years, we've been looking at to because of mass killings, knowing that schools are targets, knowing that our kids are at risk. It's something that we've been looking at for a long time but the events of Newtown, Connecticut and those killings there really spurred everyone else into saying, 'Really you guys are already been looking at this, you're working on it? -- yes.'"

The Foundations expects to spend around $1,000 per student for those 3 days.

They plan on raising money to conduct future classes.

"It's because our schools and our teachers simply don't have the money to go into this training. We have an educational foundation and this is a perfect use of funds."

WTOV (NBC Steubenville) - Firearm training for teachers to take place

The Buckeye Firearms Association plans to train teachers in firearm safety, hoping to have those teachers armed inside schools so they can defend themselves and their students.

However, permitting guns inside schools is not something some school officials are comfortable with. Bellaire Local School District Superintendent Tony Scott said he can't fathom teachers carrying guns.

"I just don't believe our teachers signed up for this. I know I didn't sign up for it," Scott said.

Scott said he does feel like something needs to change, because innocent lives are being lost. He just is not sure what that change should be, and he feels the issue needs a lot of research and discussion.

The Buckeye Firearms Association has announced it will offer a free program to 24 teachers to train them in firearm safety. The class is designed by the Technical Defense Institute, and it will provide basic shooting instruction, as well as tactical shooting and injury response training.

According to Ken Hanson, the organization's legal director, teachers have to make sure students are safe, and this is unfortunately what it has come to. He said fighting back may be the only way to stop a shooter.

"Look at the mall shooting in Clackamas that happened like five days before the Sandy Hook shooting. That person had the same rifle and only killed two people. Why? Because an armed citizen was present, pointed the gun at the guy, and his next shot was a suicide shot," Hanson said.

Right now, guns can be permitted in Ohio schools with the permission of the school's board of education, as long as the person has a concealed-carry permit.

However, Scott said he is not ready to allow guns in his classrooms.

"I have two kids that are teachers. Obviously I was a teacher coming through the ranks. I don't know that I would want the responsibility to have a firearm in my classroom," Scott said.

He said it could either save lives or make matters worse -- a risk he's not willing to take.

There is no set date for the training, and Hanson said the organization will take applications. It will choose teachers who are most likely to improve the school's safety with the training, he said. Still, however, the board of education must give approval before a gun can be brought inside a school.

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