Utah teachers given free weapons training

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Hundreds of Utah educators showed up at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Thursday for a free class in weapons training.

In the wake of a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, the Utah Shooting Sports Council and a local business called Ops Gear teamed up to offer training that will allow teachers to be eligible for concealed firearm permits.

Ops Gear CEO David Brunell, who taught Thursday morning’s session, says he isn’t trying to arm every teacher in Utah, but to teach educators how to interrupt the actions of a killer.

“We do believe at the end of the day it will save lives. We’ve seen that proven. Trolley Square lasted six minutes not four hours. Six minutes because an off-duty police officer, happened to be the guy with the gun, challenged the bad guy,” Brunell said.

More than 200 educators packed the class on Thursday, but not all of them are planning on carrying a weapon in school.

Joanna Baginska wants the permit for hiking and other activities where she might feel vulnerable, but doesn’t think guns should be allowed at schools.

“I think there should be no guns at school. I think we do need to increase safety at school. Maybe have more police officers or lockdown plans, but I don’t think there should be guns around children or any children for that matter,” Baginska said.

Raye Ann Blauer, a kindergarten teacher in Salt Lake County, says she’s considering using her permit to carry a weapon at school.

“Because after everything that happened in Connecticut, I want to be aware of how I can help in the classroom and protect my kids and whatnot. Be aware,” Blauer said. “I think it’s really smart. Especially with everything that’s happened lately.”

Utah is one of four states that allows teachers and other permit-holding adults to carry guns at school without exception. The other three are Oregon, New Hampshire and Hawaii.

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