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Sen. Fortunato wants to arm teachers in Washington schools

LISTEN: State Senator Phil Fortunado on his bill that would arm teachers

Washington State Senator Phil Fortunato has a solution to school shootings — arm teachers with guns.

“You put armed people in school tomorrow afternoon, our children will be safer,” Fortunato told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “So the only proposal that will actually protect our children, is the proposal to put armed people in schools to protect our children.”

RELATED: Gun control case that never made it to the Supreme Court

President Donald Trump delivered a similar statement recently; promoting guns for teachers. The state senator says that he is currently drafting a new bill that would arm teachers in Washington’s schools.

“We’re proposing to set aside $10 million, put it in a program to have the Criminal Justice Training Commission — which currently trains our police officers — to come up with a standardized training program we could use throughout the state,” he said. “As the president said, our proposal is not a mandatory requirement. Simply, if you feel you want to participate in this program, here it is. This is what you can do to help protect your students.”

Fortunato says his bill will essentially allow school districts to participate in a training program. Teachers could apply for the training. They would undergo a psychological evaluation, get de-escalation training, and experience with a firearm.

“Let’s say we have a high school and we have 50 teachers and administrators, heck the janitor could participate in this …” Fortunato said. “Out of those 50, five of them decide to participate in this project. Which five? So the whole secret is if somebody was to attempt to do something, he doesn’t know which teacher or which administrator would be armed in that situation. That would be a force multiplier by keeping that information confidential.”

The state senator argues that students should get the same protection as valuables and celebrities.

“This is one of the things that makes me laugh,” he said. “It’s a sad thing to say – we protect our money. When an armored car pulls up, guys with guns get out. I’m protected by armed security. If something happens, a state patrolman sits outside my house with a gun to protect me. Yet, we protect our children with a gun-free zone sign. This is nonsense.”

“Somebody that has already made the decision that they are going to kill somebody, the last thing they are worried about is a magazine ban and all this other nonsense,” he added.

Arm teachers, or not

Greg Burns is with the Tactical Training Academy, which teach courses to handle active shooter incidents and handgun marksmanship. Burns recently told KIRO Nights that he would not favor placing teachers with guns in schools. Rather, he prefers school resource officers. He said that using a firearm requires being responsible for every round that leaves your gun.

Though Burns’ point centers on the training aspect that Fortunato discusses.

When I was in law enforcement, I heard of a story of an off-duty sergeant who went into a McDonald’s – off-duty, plain clothes, and carrying. Some guy ended up coming in and robbing this McDonald’s. This off-duty police officer ended up drawing his firearm and getting into a gunfight with this bad guy and killing that bad guy.

… one of the rounds of that gunfire ended up hitting a 12-year-old girl having a birthday party and killing her. My point in telling that story is really simple. That officer had thousands, and thousands of hours of training on how to use a firearm and how to do so safely. Still, with all of that, when he was put into a situation that he wasn’t ready for, wasn’t prepared for, there ended up being casualties.


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