Athens Review, Athens, Texas

December 26, 2012

Retired teacher: ‘Arm educators’

Allowing guns in hands of trained professionals could stem violence, Price says

Joseph Elerson
The Athens Review

ATHENS — The December 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., have led one retired-teacher-turned-gun-instructor to ask politicians for changes to the concealed handgun laws for teachers.

John Price is a firearms instructor at Big Iron concealed handgun training near Malakoff. He’s also a retired teacher and coach, having worked in at Hillcrest High School in Dallas.

Price has sent a letter to Texas Governor Rick Perry and Vice President Joe Biden stating that all teachers should be allowed to gain their certification and carry a weapon with them in their classrooms.

He says allowing teachers this right will possibly help end the violence in schools.

Texas law bans guns in schools unless the school has given written authorization

“The best way to protect our children is to let teachers get a concealed handgun license and carry a gun into their classroom,” Price said. “Anyone that applies for a license will be investigated by the FBI.”

He said his goal is to help teachers become the first line of defense in cases where school violence has risen over the years.

“I don't want any dead heroes and I will show them how to protect themselves before showing their guns,” he said.

Price said if schools would nix the ban on guns in schools, licensed firearms trainers could take care of the certification sometimes in a matter of days.

Currently, lawmakers in Oklahoma, Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota and Oregon have said they would consider allowing teachers and school administrators the right to carry firearms at school.

Price said background checks on all applicants will be given to make sure each person can react to crisis situations in a timely manner.

A school district in Harrold, Texas, started the Guardian Plan in 2007 — which allows teachers to carry concealed weapons.

Superintendent David Thweatt told a local media outlet that school personnel consider themselves the first responders and they want to be there to protect their children.

According to the Associated Press, for school personnel in Harrold, the nearest sheriff's office is 30 minutes away.

Price said when a situation happens where a person comes into a school looking to harm innocent children, time is of the essence.

“For 30 years, I have wondered what I would do if a situation like Connecticut happened,” Price said. “We don't need situations where you have to wait 30 to 45 minutes to enter a school and You can’t stop a shooter unless you have a gun with you in the classroom.”