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A freshman South Carolina state senator is making it known that she feels educators should carry guns.
District 23 Republican Katrina Shealy on Monday announced deeply discounted Concealed Weapon Permit classes for South Carolina teachers and school administrators.
"In light of the tremendous tragedy at Sandy Hook, it is imperative we do all we can to keep our children safe and our schools secure," said Shealy, former chair of the Lexington County Republican Party. "These CWP classes will go a long way in ensuring good, law-abiding educators are competent, safe, and well-instructed in the legal carrying and use of firearms."
The Senate's lone female supports legislation to allow concealed weapons in schools, an act that is currently against South Carolina law.
"I'm not saying let's go stand at the front door of High Schools and hand out guns to teachers. I mean, let's be realistic," said Shealy.
Shealy said SLED-certified instructors have volunteered to waive instruction fees (usually $85-$100), and Mid Carolina Rifle Club has agreed to waive range fees for the shooting proficiency test. The only cost for the educators would be course materials and SLED's $50 application fee, which could be waived for retired law enforcement and disabled military personnel, Shealy said.
"I hope our educators take advantage of this great program," continued Shealy. "And I remain committed to preserving, protecting, and defending our right to keep and bear arms and especially to protecting our most precious asset - our children."
The required classroom instruction and written test will take place in February at Shealy & Sons Electric - 517 Spring Street in West Columbia. The shooting proficiency test will be scheduled subsequently at Mid Carolina Rifle Club.
The first classroom sessions are scheduled for 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 12 and Thursday, February 14. Enrolment is limited, but additional courses will be scheduled if there is demand. For more information, contact Patrick Nolan at 803-318-1400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lexington County Sheriff James Metts does not agree with the idea of putting guns in teachers' hands. While he supports people's right to own and carry a gun, he thinks putting them in the hands of teachers isn't the right way to go. He wants more resource officers.
"Statistics have shown that putting guns in the hands of people who don't have the ability or can't react are more of a problem than they are a help," said Metts.
Metts says active shooter training is just one of the things seperating SRO's from a teacher with just a CWP. Moreover, he says with additional officers, you'd also have more ways for students to report threats or suspicious activity.
"We can respond to that before it even happens, and that's what you want to do. You want to prevent it, not react to it," said Metts.
Shealy defeated longtime State Sen. Jake Knotts in November.