Reporting Michael Rosenfield
CONCORD, NH (CBS) – At the State House today, both sides of the gun debate were ready for battle.
One of the four gun bills on the table calls for local school boards to vote on whether school employees can carry concealed weapons on school property.
“I want my children protected,” said Angela Joy, a mother from Dover. “If I feel that in their school, in their community, they need an armed person, than I want that option.”
Representative Dan Itse, a Republican from Rockingham County, said he introduced the bill in response to the tragic shootings in Newtown, CT, saying teachers could better protect their classrooms if armed with a gun.
“They would in fact be able to interpose themselves and potentially stop the mayhem dead in its tracks,” said Rep. Itse.
But several education groups oppose the measure.
“Guns do not belong in school,” said Laura Hainey of the American Federation of Teachers.
Some education groups called the effort misguided and dangerous.
“And the chances that an armed teacher will shoot a child by accident are high,” said Dean Michener of the New Hampshire School Boards Association. “As are the chances of arriving police mistakenly shooting anyone seen with a weapon in the ensuing chaos.”
But some argued teachers with guns would be a deterrent to would-be criminals.
“If the bad guy knows that some of the people in that school might be armed, he’s probably going to go to another school which says guns aren’t allowed,” said Spec Bowers of Sunapee.
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan has indicated she does not support the bill.
“The Governor believes we must always be working to improve the safety of our schools and communities, but encouraging weapons in the classroom would put New Hampshire’s children at risk of harm,” said the governor’s spokesperson Marc Goldberg in an email to WBZ-TV.