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Kelley Defends His Proposal To Allow Mo. Teachers To Carry Guns In School

Mo. House Communications

The sponsor of a bill that would allow Missouri teachers to be armed in classrooms says if passed, it won't lead to "people running around with guns drawn, acting like Rambo."

The proposal by State Representative Mike Kelley (R, Lamar) is just one of several aimed at protecting school kids in the wake of last week’s mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  Kelley says there’s a lot of misconception out there about his bill.

“When I talk to people, I can tell in their mind they’re picturing the Wild West with two six-shooters, one on each hip, and the teachers walking in and going, ‘This is MY classroom!’" Kelley said.  "What we’re looking into is giving an opportunity for those that take care of our most precious, precious possessions, our children, to have a system in place to allow those teachers to protect themselves and to protect those that are under their care.”

Missouri lawmakers aren’t the only ones considering letting teachers carry guns in classrooms, as similar bills are now being considered in other states.  Kelley says he’s not surprised the idea of arming teachers is taking off around the country.

“Taking away guns is not going to solve the problem," Kelley said.  "We have taken away lots of things from people and those that still want to have them will find ways to get them and will usually do so in ways that are detrimental to the general public -- prohibition is a key example.”

Kelley’s pre-filed bill would allow teachers and administrators who already have a conceal-carry permit to bring their firearms onto school property. 

Meanwhile, the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers released a joint statement today opposing efforts by states to allow teachers to be armed in class, saying the focus should instead be on gun safety and investment in mental health services.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.