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Indiana Senate advances firearms training fund for teachers and school employees

The Indiana Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would create a voluntary “specialized firearms safety, education, and training curriculum” for teachers and other school employees throughout the state. 

The bill was passed on a 42-8 vote in the senate, while the house passed the bill 71-24 in February. 

In addition to “helping teachers, school staff, and school employees acquire specialized firearms instruction” through a 40-hour training program, the legislation would also “provide funding in the event of a school shooting to cover the costs of counseling for students, teachers, school staff, and school employees.”

Republican state Sen. Travis Holdman speaks before the Indiana state Senate at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis, Tuesday, on April 18, 2023.

Republican state Sen. Travis Holdman speaks before the Indiana state Senate at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis, Tuesday, on April 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Arleigh Rodgers)

Teachers in Indiana’s public schools are already allowed to carry on school property, but there is no standardized training course. 

State Rep. Jim Lucas, the Republican who introduced the bill, said that he worked with law enforcement and public safety experts over the past year to craft the legislation. 

“When faced with a life-or-death situation, simple drills and basic training can make all the difference,” Lucas said in a statement. “With this legislation, schools have the option to send their teachers through a state-certified course designed to teach them how to respond to a threat like an active-shooter situation.”

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Two Democratic state senators joined all Republicans in voting for the bill on Tuesday, though most Democrats questioned how effective the new training would be at preventing mass shootings. 

“How is 40 hours of training going to prepare you to shoot a kid in your classroom?” Democrat Sen. Andrea Hunley said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. “This is not going to stop school shootings.”

Demonstrators stage a "die-in" to protest the National Rifle Association annual convention, outside the Indianapolis Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., April 15, 2023. 

Demonstrators stage a “die-in” to protest the National Rifle Association annual convention, outside the Indianapolis Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., April 15, 2023.  (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)

An amendment to the bill was voted down on Monday that would have required schools to notify all parents if a school employee completes the firearm training and carries a gun.

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The bill’s passage comes days after the National Rifle Association held its annual convention in Indianapolis over the weekend. Former President Trump touted himself at the gathering as “most pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment president” to ever serve in the White House. 

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