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AZ attorney general wants school principals to 'pack heat'

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(Source: CBS 5 News) Attorney General Tom Horne is proposing that no more than one person be trained and allowed access to a firearm at each school campus in order to prevent a repeat of the Newtown, CT, shootings. (Source: CBS 5 News) Attorney General Tom Horne is proposing that no more than one person be trained and allowed access to a firearm at each school campus in order to prevent a repeat of the Newtown, CT, shootings.
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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Arizona's attorney general has proposed that no more than one person be trained and allowed access to a firearm at each school campus in order to prevent a repeat of the elementary school shootings in Newtown, CT.

Tom Horne on Wednesday said the training would be provided by his office and cooperating sheriff's departments at no cost to participating schools.

"The ideal solution would be to have an armed police officer in each school," Horne said in a news release. "Some of our schools have such officers, referred to as School Resource Officers (SROs).

However, Horne said, "budget constraints have caused the Legislature to cut back on the SRO program.  It may not be possible to afford a police officer in every school.  In that case, the next best solution is to have one person in the school trained to handle firearms, to handle emergency situations, and possessing a firearm in a secure location."

He likened his proposal to that of "arming pilots on planes."

CBS5 spoke to a number of Valley parents, who had major concerns about educators bringing a gun on campus.

"I don't want any more arms in the schools, whether its locked in a safe or not," said Phoenix mom Katie Duran. "Not even a trusted person would make me feel safer, because they can't be everywhere on campus."

Horne said the program would be voluntary and that schools can designate the principal or another person at the school to receive the training.

Horne said the designated person would be evaluated for this program and training will involve not only firearms, but also "use of force" laws, defensive tactics, judgment, simulations, and properly securing a firearm.

That person would then be authorized to keep a firearm locked in a secure place, and would have adequate communication to be alerted to an emergency in any part of the school, Horne said. 

Jimi Diaz, of Phoenix said that police officers are the only ones truly qualified to walk around school with a weapon.

"A normal person who is not used to the stress of an armed gunman, may not be able to respond the same," said Diaz.

"I think it would just antagonize the situation," said parent Jason Carter. "I don't think it would do any good."

Horne said he is joined in his proposal by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan and Apache County Sheriff Joe Dedman.

Horne told CBS-5 that his plan would first require a change in state law, which currently allows only police officers to carry firearms on campus.

State lawmaker David Gowan of Sierra Vista has agreed to introduce a bill this upcoming legislative session that could pave the way for the attorney general's proposal.

Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Sidebar: AZ gun laws, school proposals

Updated:

Horne proposes arming 1 person at each AZ school (12/26/12) Teen accused of deadly school plot to remain behind bars (12/21/12) AZ educators, parents voice concerns over security guards at school (12/21/12) AZ

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