Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., told Newsmax on Friday he introduced legislation to expand access to firearms for teachers and school staff in order to protect their classrooms in response to the mass shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, in March that left six people dead.
Ogles on April 28 introduced the Teachers Empowered Against Classroom Harm (TEACH) Act, which would allow teachers and school staff the option to participate in defensive training programs aimed at protecting schools and their students.
"It allows a teacher — they don't have to do it, so they choose to do it — can get their proper training so that they can carry a firearm in the school," Ogles told "American Agenda." He represents Tennessee's 5th Congressional District, which includes the area in Nashville where the shooting at Covenant School occurred.
Ogles said Nashville police officers did everything right in their fast response, including taking down the shooter, Audrey Hale, 28, and preventing further fatalities. He said even if everything goes right on the law enforcement end, properly trained school staff can help even more to protect students.
"Minutes matter, seconds matter when you have an active shooter situation," Ogles said. "Imagine if the French teacher, the shop teacher, the principal all have the ability to carry a firearm, and if someone comes into that school trying to harm a child, they can intercede immediately.
"Keep in mind, these teachers, they know the schools. They know how to navigate the hallways. They know the hiding spots. So if there's a shooter in the classroom or in the school, who better to find them, track them down, and put them down than someone who's been trained that teaches at the school."
The bill has 11 co-sponsors in the House, including Reps. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. It also has support from gun rights groups such as the Gun Owners of America.
"GOA is proud to endorse this legislation from Rep. Ogles," said Aidan Johnston, director of federal affairs at the Gun Owners of America, said in a news release. "At GOA, we've been championing the need to harden schools, which comes in many forms. Whether it's arming willing teachers or empowering parents, these policies play a major role in deterring violence at schools."
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