School Staff Can Now Be Armed in Oklahoma

School Staff Can Now Be Armed in Oklahoma
A sign outside a Oklahoma school that will need to be replaced.

A new law allowing Oklahoma teachers to carry guns in schools was approved in the state House this week in the from of the Special Reserve School Resource Officer Act.

According to the new legislation, schools in Oklahoma can now choose to allow their staff to carry a firearm. The specific staff members must be selected by the school districts, and the individuals would be required to hold a license to carry and receive specified training. The idea is to have someone on scene who can do something in the event of an attack.

Anyone carrying in a school is required to receive at least 120 hours of specialized training, paid for by the school districts, to be developed by the state's Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training.

"If that worst case situation occurs, there is the potential for an armed response on the part of the school to stop a perpetrator with deadly intent," says state Rep. Jeff Coody.

Coody also said the law will especially benefit smaller communities that don't have a dedicated police force.

Of course, a law like this is going to create some polarized opinions, like those voiced by two Oklahoma residents interviewed by KFOR.com.

"I think it's dangerous. I don't think they should be allowed to have guns in the school unless you're a cop on duty," said parent Sharon Pullen.

"I think it's great to have at least one person in there with a gun. That way, if there's an armed person that comes in, there's at least one person that can save the day," said Denika Givens, also a parent.

It's completely up to each individual school district in the state—of which there are 520—whether to allow any of their staff members to be armed on school property. Just the fact that schools now have the option could be an advantage.

"I think we would do this if it's right, and I think it's something that will helps schools. I think just the idea that there could be somebody here that is armed can cause folks that are considering some sort of nefarious act to maybe reconsider that," said Dr. Mike Wood, an Oklahoma school superintendent.

Similar legislation in Oklahoma had failed twice before this law was signed.