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Texas Police Chief Advocates Arming Teachers to Prevent Mass Shootings

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Argyle, TX— In the wake of the deadly shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 17-year-old survivor Colton Haab told Fox News that he believes that if his football coach Aaron Feis, who died in the attack shielding students from gunfire, had been able to carry his firearm at school, he would have been able to effectively obstruct the gunman.

“If Coach Feis had had his firearm in school that day, I believe that he most likely could’ve stopped the threat,” Haab told Fox News.

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Haab went on to explain that Feis, who was a trained security guard in addition to being an assistant football coach, upon hearing the sound of gunfire, sped off in his golf cart toward the sound of the gunshots.

While arming teachers is not common practice, The Daily Caller reports that one Texas school district has been doing exactly that for the past four years. In 2014, motivated in part by the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Argyle Independent School District began allowing staff members to carry guns on school grounds after “intense interviews and training” in an effort to mitigate the threat from a potential mass shooting.

Argyle Independent School District Police Chief Paul Cairney appeared on MSNBC over the weekend and discussed the steps staff must take in order to carry a firearm on the campus, and he was asked if he was concerned for the safety of students due to the presence of firearms.

Cairney noted that the practice of allowing armed staff is highly controlled, stating that when it comes to school shooting the “time to do nothing is over.” A recent WFAA-TV report explained the process to carry a firearm in the Argyle Independent School District:

To become a school marshal, those employees must undergo extensive active shooter and firearms training with the state. They must also undergo a mental health evaluation.

They receive a school marshal designation by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and must renew their license every two years by undergoing the same training and evaluation.

Outside of campuses in Keene and Argyle, signs warn visitors that there are staff members who are armed and are prepared to protect children.

“We handpicked these people, we make sure they go through an extensive screening process. They go through a psychological evaluation and then I go through an intense training where they shoot over 900 rounds of ammunition and just a few days,” Cairney told Fox4 News.

To critics of arming teachers, Cairney said, “If you think of something better, let us know. We’re willing to listen, but at the same time, the day of doing nothing is over.”

Watch the interview with Cairney below:

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