Comments allowing educators to carry guns gets mixed reaction - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Comments allowing educators to carry guns gets mixed reaction

There was quick reaction on Wednesday over comments from Governor Bob McDonnell about allowing school officials to carry firearms on campus.

School security has become a major issue since the mass shootings in Connecticut.

When hosts on the WTOP radios' "Ask the Governor" segment asked Governor McDonnell about allowing school employees to have guns on campus, his response supports the idea.

"I think we should have a discussion about that," he said. "If someone had been armed, there would have been an opportunity to stop the person from coming into the school."

There was immediate reaction to the governor's comments, including from state senate democrats.

"To arm teachers, to arm principals who don't come to the school system with that skill set and perhaps in some cases not even that mindset, I think is a flawed policy," said State Senator Donald McEachin, (D) Henrico.

Right now Virginia law states no firearms are allowed within 1,000 feet of a school. In counties like Chesterfield and Henrico, the only people armed on school campuses are resource officers who are trained police officers.

According to Henrico School's Department of Safety and Security, every middle and high school has a resource officer but some high schools have two including Highland Springs, Varina and Henrico

In Henrico County, there are also security officers hired by the school district.

"One enforces the law, the other enforces the code of conduct," said Christine Bailor, coordinator for HCPS Safety and Security.

We asked State Senator McEachin if an educator has a concealed weapons permit, should they be allowed to carry it on a campus.

"I'm not convinced that just by virtue of having a concealed weapons permit is trained for all the possibilities and all the circumstances that can arise from a crazed gunman invading a school," he said.

The governor says this topic will be part of an ongoing discussion.

"Don't react when you're emotional because you're policies may not be right, but get to the bottom of what works," Governor McDonnell said.

Supporters of the governor's comments echo his reasoning that with the proper training an attack could be prevented. The governor's office says we could be hearing more about the school safety task force Thursday.

Governor McDonnell isn't the only one who supports arming school personnel, Texas Governor Rick Perry has called for it as well.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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