Debate to arm teachers continues with bill going through the Statehouse

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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) – Arming teachers always leads to a big debate.

Teachers, parents and students shared what they think about a possible bill to help pay for teachers to learn how to carry a gun.

It's been nine months since the incident at Noblesville West Middle School but the ripple affects are still being felt today at the Indiana Statehouse.

"My phone rings and now it's my wife calling me. She's screaming into the phone. It's Zack's school. It's our sons school," Jeff Armstrong testified Monday. "There is a shooter in his school. That phone call lasted 30 seconds. It will never leave me and it changed my life forever."

Armstrong shared hiw memories of the phone call he exchanged with his wife the day of the Noblesville shooting and he was not alone.

"Rep. Goodrich, on May 25th I sat in the front of your daughter and when we hid in our classroom and held hands and we cried together. We were so scared. We could hear the SWAT team banging on the door. People throwing desks and chairs in front of the classroom door," said Emily Cole, a senior at Noblesville High School told the committee.

The two Noblesville residents converged at the Statehouse to testify against a bill that would allow school districts to seek state money to pay for teacher gun training.

Aron Bright sees it differently. As a history teacher at Avon, he wants the opportunity to defend himself and his students.

"I have the ability and I have the willingness to do so. I just need the authority," he told Eyewitness News.

But this bill doesn't grant authority. It just grants access to training dollars.

"I am not a lawyer but it looks to me like this was written to hide behind it's language," said Armstrong.

The Indiana State Teachers Association estimates it will cost $750 per trainee.

Rep. Jim Lucas says the state can train 45 teachers for the cost of one school resource officer.

"When you have someone inside a school committed to murdering innocent children and staff members, that makes the most sense," said Lucas, the bill author.

"So this bill would only increase tensions that day. It is just common sense that having a gun dramatically increases the risk of having gun injury and death," Emily Cole countered.

"We can't base policy on emotion," said Lucas.

"Please use common sense. If not for me, do it for your daughters or sons and for May 25th. Please vote no today."

It proved all for not. The committee passed the bill by an 8-2 vote.

All the folks from here in Noblesville will have another chance to speak up since this bill passed out of committee, meaning it will now go to the full House for more debate.