INDIANAPOLIS, April 4 (UPI) -- A bill now before the Indiana legislature would require all public schools to have at least one armed staff member, who could be a teacher or principal.
State Rep. Jim Lucas, a Republican, added the requirement Tuesday to a bill that would provide grants for schools to hire resource officers, the Indianapolis Star reported. Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, another Republican, described the addition as a potential cost-saver for schools, who could use one of their own staffers instead of having a police officer.
But the idea has many critics, the Star said. Steve Garner, chief of police for the Indianapolis Public Schools and a veteran of 30 years with the city police department, said he believes more discussion of school security is needed. He is also concerned that the mix of crowded school hallways and armed teachers could be a volatile one.
"If 99.9 percent of your duty doesn't involve you engaging a gun and shooting it, what are you going to do when the time comes," he said.
Gov. Mike Pence said he does not want to "prejudge" legislation that is still being drafted. But he said he has a bias towards letting local districts make their own decisions.
If the bill becomes law, Indiana would be the first state in the country to require schools to have an armed person on staff.