Leading gun-rights advocate wants teachers armed with weapons
BY DAVE MCKINNEY Springfield Bureau Chief firstname.lastname@example.org December 17, 2012 7:40PM
9-30-09 Hyatt Regency, Chicago Illinois State Rifle Association news conference with attorneys Alan Gura and David Sigale on U.S, Supreme Court announcement that it will review the Chicago gun ban. Richard Pearson, pres. of the Illinois State Rifle Association talks at the press conference. [Keith Hale/Sun-Times]
Updated: January 19, 2013 6:23AM
SPRINGFIELD — One of Illinois’ leading gun-rights advocates urged state lawmakers Monday to pass legislation that would give school districts authority to arm school principals, teachers and even custodial staff with concealed weapons.
“The problem we have is a gun-free zone. We have a gun-free zone around a school. Every crazy person knows that. And so, the gun-free zone is like a magnet for the lunatics. He or she knows there won’t be any resistance there,” said Richard Pearson, executive of the Illinois State Rifle Association.
Pearson told the Chicago Sun-Times that lawmakers should pass a school-safety bill next spring, including the concealed carry authority for educators, as a response to last Friday’s Connecticut school shootings.
“There are a couple of issues. The first issue, of course, is had there been a security guard there who was armed, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said, referring to the Newtown shootings.
“Had there been a teacher who was armed, this wouldn’t have happened.
“There’s really only one person who’s in a position to stop a crime, and that’s the intended victims. They have the ability to resist with as much force as the person trying to attack them,” he said.
Pearson said he doesn’t favor a blanket statewide standard for arming school employees, who he believes first would have to meet training requirements to carry weapons at school; but each school should have an armed security guard at a minimum while giving other educators authority to be armed, as well.
“It should be determined by the school system who’ll they allow. Certainly not all teachers are capable of it but many are,” Pearson said.