Conversations on how to make communities safer in the wake of a deadly series of shootings have ranged from a complete ban of firearms to placing armed police officers in every classroom in America. Now Arizona's attorney general is recommending his state train at least one person in each school on how to use a firearm.
Wednesday's proposal by AG Tom Horne involves training the principal or another designated staff member to properly use a weapon that would be secured on school grounds.
And Horne is not alone. Sheriff's Paul Babeu of Pinal County, Tom Sheahan of Mohave County and Joe Dedman of Apache County join him in supporting the measure.
"The ideal solution would be to have an armed Police Officer in each school. Some of our schools have such officers, referred to as School Resource Officers (SRO's). They are not only there to handle emergencies, but also make friends with the students, and the students learn that Police Officers are people one can confide in, and are not the enemy," read a statement released by Horne's office.
Republican leaders in the state legislature have agreed to sponsor legislation that would make the measure compatible with state law soon after they reconvene in early 2013. However, not all legislators favor the change.
Arizona Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix) said the AG's plan was a "horrible, horrible idea."
"Teachers are not cops. Teachers are not military," Campbell told Fox News. "Their job is to teach our kids, not to be worried about how to defend themselves in a tactical situation."
However, Campbell said he would favor additional funding to restore the SRO program. "That's where we need to focus our money," he said. "The last thing you want is a bunch of people with guns at schools making situations worse."
The issue is also renewing the debate on whether citizens, other that law enforcement personnel, who are authorized to carry firearms can legally do so on school grounds. Kansas and Utah are the only two states that currently allow licensed individuals to carry guns in or on school property.
Sheriff Babeu favors a program designed to train multiple school employees and educators on how to handle weapons on school grounds.
"Who better than people who already know our schools, who are well educated … to be in the immediate first line of defense against these mass murderers," Babeu said.
Horne's proposal would be voluntary and any school or district choosing not to participate in the program would opt out.