Republican Lieutenant governor candidate Will Ainsworth announced on Thursday that he is honored Governor Kay Ivey chose to adopt his proposal to train and arm school administrators to protect their schools in the event of an active shooter situation.
“Every school shooting that takes place in another state around the country brings us one step closer to an active shooter attacking classrooms here, in Alabama” Ainsworth said. “Gov. Ivey’s decision to adopt a portion of my plan is a good first step, but we must empower teachers to defend their students against those who wish to do harm.”
Ainsworth made his proposal in the legislative session earlier this year, and even though the bill, Ivey’s Alabama Sentry Program is very similar to the proposed bill.
The bill, HB435, proposed that school administrators, principals, and teachers who met certain qualifications be allowed to carry a firearm on school campuses. It also required that those carrying must complete a 40-hour course in basic school policing in a program approved by the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission, and pass an annual firearm re-qualification; the same test required of law enforcement officers.
The Alabama Sentry Program that Ivey announced on Wednesday is “a voluntary program which will permit administrators in schools, without an SRO, to maintain a firearm on campus in a secured safe in order to be prepared to respond to an active shooter situation.”
The only real difference between the two plans is Ainsworth’s provision to include teachers in the program, which he believes is crucial to the program’s success.
“On the day that the Parkland, Florida school shooting occurred, I drafted legislation allowing school teachers and administrators to carry firearms if they volunteered to undergo mental health evaluations and completed thorough law enforcement training, but House Democrats and gun control advocates blocked my bill from passing,” Ainsworth said.
“I am honored that Gov. Kay Ivey saw the wisdom in my school security plan and plans to arm some school administrators, but teachers should be given the option, as well. One armed administrator cannot defend an entire school, and until teachers are allowed to defend their classrooms with something more lethal than a ruler and a No. 2 pencil, our children remain at risk.”