Rocky Mountain Gun Owners pitch concealed carry classes for teachers

DENVER — A deeply political and influential Colorado gun group is rolling out courses for teachers ahead of a hearing on a bill that would allow school employees to pack heat.

“[W]e want to train as many teachers and school employees as possible on how to defend themselves, their students and their schools,” reads a Rocky Mountains Gun Owners donation page. The group asks supporters to contribute $25 to help sponsor teacher concealed-carry permit applications.

The bill would allow teachers to carry guns at school and is sponsored by Rep. Stephen Humphrey, a Republican from Windsor, and Sen. Scott Renfroe, a Republican from Greeley. Both lawmakers have enjoyed endorsements from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and play up their hardcore gun-rights positions. Indeed, Humphrey rode into office on the back of an election-mailer campaign that falsely attacked his primary opponent Jeffrey Hare as a supporter of gay rights. The mailer drew a lawsuit from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which named Rocky Mountain Gun Owners head Dudley Brown as the man behind the mailers.

The bill is scheduled for debate Tuesday in the House Judiciary Committee. It would grant school districts the choice to decide whether or not “to allow an employee of the school district or charter school to carry a concealed handgun on school grounds if the person holds a valid permit to carry.”

A previous proposal by Renfroe with nearly identical language died in committee last year.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners threw its weight behind the state Senate recall elections last year in reaction to gun laws passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature. More recently, the group has pushed for lawmakers to repeal a ban on sales of ammunition magazines that hold over 15-rounds.

In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook two years ago, gun groups argued that the best defense against school shootings is to arm school staff. The American Federation of Teachers described the idea as “a cruel hoax.”

*Update: It turns out school employees like teachers can be deemed security officers and then carry a concealed gun in accordance to Colorado law. So the proposed bill may not be proposing anything new.

[Image via mrwilleeumm]