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Teacher gun training program clears Indiana Senate

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana teachers who carry guns in schools would need to undergo annual training under a proposal advancing in the state Legislature.

The state Senate voted 42-7 Tuesday in favor of the bill that specifies a 40-hour training program for teachers volunteering to be armed, followed by 16 hours of additional training each year.

Republican Sen. Chris Garten of Charlestown urged support for the proposal because teachers can be armed with permission of their school districts but the state doesn’t have any training requirements.

The proposal specifies that the training program must include 20 hours of scenario-based training and six hours of marksmanship, along with reviews about lawful use of force and personality screening.

School safety has gained attention around Indiana following shootings in 2018 at a Noblesville middle school in which a boy wounded a classmate and teacher, and at a Richmond middle school where a boy shot out a door and at officers before killing himself.

Members of the gun control group Moms Demand Action told a Senate committee last week that they opposed the bill as “normalizing” a high-risk strategy of arming teachers.

Democratic Sen. Mark Stoops of Bloomington said he believed the bill’s training steps were important but that the state was encouraging what he called “well-meaning amateurs” to end up carrying guns in schools.

The proposal now goes to the House, which didn’t approve a similar Senate bill last year as it faced opposition over requiring the training as an infringement on gun rights.