• Teachers visit gun range to attend free concealed carry class

    By: Catherine Bilkey

    Updated:

    ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - A gun range in Rowan County had to turn away teachers because so many wanted to attend its free concealed carry class Saturday. Organizers say they decided to train teachers because of the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

    Some of the teachers told Eyewitness News they were taking the class to help keep their students safe.

    "That's why we are teachers, because we love the children we work with," interim teacher Jordan Waller said.

    Waller joined dozens of other educators at the free concealed carry class in Salisbury.

    She sat next to Susan Smith, a teacher's assistant, who worries about her students who have special needs.

    "Our children are not very mobile," Smith said. "They would have a very hard time getting out of the way."

    Smith and Waller both support bills in the state Legislature that would allow teachers to carry weapons.

    "If that's what the world is coming to, I'd go along with it," Waller said.

    Senate Bill 146 would allow some employees and volunteers at private schools to carry weapons. Another Senate bill would allow certain teachers to carry firearms at public schools.

    "I would be very comfortable having additional opportunities to protect the students, and if it meant carrying a weapon on me I'd do that," Smith said.

    Some groups don't think armed teachers is the answer. North Carolinians Against Gun Violence told Eyewitness News they have good reason to believe more guns will mean more gun deaths and injuries.

    "It has proved out in the workplace and in the home, so it stands to reason that it would be the same in schools," Executive Director Gail Neely said.

    The Rowan County Wildlife Association, the group that hosted the classes, believes armed good guys are the solution.

    "It's a different kind of world now," Claude Paris said.

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