Gun Owners Speak Out About Arming Teachers

Pasco, WA. -- It's a normal sight at the Tri-Cities' Sportsmen Show to see a child setting his sights on a target.
But, for the parents nearby it's impossible to forget when someone took aim at their kids.

"I was devastated, devastated," said former teacher and mother of two, Amy Hendrickson. "I honestly cried for days and it still breaks my heart thinking of the little ones that lost their lives, and the bravery the teachers took to protect their students."

As a former 5th grade teacher, she says she would have done the same. "Any teacher would," she said.
That's not to say Amy Hendrickson would go so far as to arm herself in the classroom.

"I think it would be hard for a teacher knowing they are armed," she said. "The safety of carrying a weapon around children would be a huge burden."

It's a debate that was sparked by the tragedy on the East Coast and has quickly spread west. Benton County State Representative Brad Klippert wants to allow teachers and staff to conceal and carry. He's not alone either. This week Kansas Senator Rand Paul said he wants to introduce legislation of the same and support can be seen across the country, including here in the tri-cities.

"The way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun," said Paul Hemsworth. Hemsworth is a self-professed good guy, former cop, parent and he conceals and carries. "That's the 2nd Amendment at its finest," he told KEPR as he lifted his jacket to expose his handgun.

Hemsworth is among the majority of our Facebook followers who commented saying they think teachers should be allowed to do the same. "I wouldn't want anyone to carry a firearm that didn't want to, but if a teacher that wants to, with the right amount of training, then absolutely," he said.

There was a middle ground expressed at the Tri-Cities' Sportsmen Show on Friday and it came from the one everyone wants to protect - 5th grader Kalli Brence.

"Kalli had the idea to do Tasers and I thought it was a brilliant idea," said her mother Tonya Brence. Although they own guns themselves, the Brence's said there are too many risks with putting guns in schools. A Taser, simply put by Kalli, "...could stop them without doing any damage to the person."

Tonya said she would back that idea, but Klippert's proposal wouldn't see any support from her as it stands. "I would not vote to have guns in school."