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Educators rush to get gun training

CLEVELAND — School teachers in Texas are flocking to free firearms classes and hundreds more in Ohio have signed up for training in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school massacre, some vowing to protect their students with guns even at the risk of losing their jobs.

In Ohio, more than 900 teachers, administrators and school employees signed up for the Buckeye Firearms Association’s newly created, three-day gun training program, the association said.

In Texas, an $85 Concealed Handgun Licence course offered at no cost to teachers filled 400 spots immediately, forcing the school to offer another class, one instructor said. The two Texas classes graduated about 460 educators.

“Any teacher who is licensed and chooses to be armed should be able to be armed,” said Gerald Valentino, co-founder of the Buckeye Firearms Association. “It should be every teacher’s choice.”

The December 14 tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, sparked a national debate about whether to arm teachers, prompting passionate arguments on both sides.

The deaths of six- and seven-year-old school children led President Barack Obama to promise “meaningful action” to curtail gun violence, while the National Rifle Association has advocated arming teachers and placing trained guards in each of the country’s 100,000 schools.

Ohio and Texas are not the first to offer no-cost arms training to teachers. Just days after the Connecticut mass murder, some 200 teachers in Utah underwent free instruction from gun activists. (Reuters)

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