INDIANAPOLIS — On Wednesday, the Senate Education and Career Development Committee voted along party lines to approve House Bill (HB) 1253, which would fund handgun training for teachers. State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary), along with other Democratic caucus members, voted against the proposal that asks teachers to act as trained marksmen. Sen. Melton gave the following comments to the committee when explaining his vote:

“My heart goes out to those who have been impacted by school shootings and general gun violence in Indiana and across the nation. Outside of my personal view and opposition of this bill to pay for handgun training for our teachers, the true question is why we even have a current law that allows teachers to be armed in the first place? If our desire is to protect students, it seems counterproductive to pass legislation that puts more guns into schools rather than working to keep guns out of schools.

“This bill requires teachers to go through a National Rifle Association (NRA) training, instead of being trained by local law enforcement. Our state shouldn’t be in the business of funneling money into organizations like the NRA, at the expense of our children’s safety. Why isn’t our law enforcement academy asked to conduct the school firearm training for teachers?

“It is also concerning that, at a time when we’re trying to increase teacher pay and give our school districts more money we are approving a bill that has no determined fiscal, so we don’t even know how much it will cost to implement it across the state.

“There are dozens of unanswered questions in this bill, and I am deeply concerned with the potential implications of this legislation. I will continue to work as this bill progresses in the Senate to ensure our teachers and our students’ safety is the highest priority.”