MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An Osseo School Board Chairman has suggested bringing in armed volunteers to schools to help prevent school shootings.
At an Osseo School Board meeting Monday, Chairman Robert Gerhart made the proposal while addressing district emergency preparedness.
Gerhart says he supports police and armed security in schools, but says they “won’t appear overnight, nor the money to pay them.” He also said he disagrees with arming teachers and that the debate would run on for years.
His idea for a more immediate solution: armed volunteers.
“Let volunteers identify themselves privately, require the volunteers to be 21 or older, require the county sheriff’s office to run a background check on each and every one of the volunteers – at the volunteers’ expense,” Gerhart said. “Require the volunteer to provide a certificate of completed firearms training, proving both classroom and shooting range proficiency provided by a certified instructor – at the volunteers’ own expense.”
He also says volunteers provide their own legally acquired firearm and will need an identification card that they renew every 5 years.
Gerhart goes on to say that anyone with a criminal background, mental illness or drug problem be ineligible to become an armed volunteer.
He says it won’t take long to implement – because the requirements are already in place.
“What if I told you the card I talked about already exists? It’s the Minnesota Permit to Carry a Pistol card,” Gerhart said.
He says he knows there are teachers with the permit to carry, but can’t legally take them into schools.
“We have the ability to make a difference right here, right now,” Gerhart said.
When reached for comment, Gerhart said he could have been more clear about what he meant by volunteers:
“I was talking about volunteers from among our existing staff. You can see that when I later stated ‘I know for a fact that we have teachers across the district and across our state who carry a similar card.’
“In other words, if we can trust a person to be a teacher, and we can trust a person to carry a permit, then it stands to reason that a person who is both a teacher and a permit holder is part of a uniquely elite an trustworthy group of people who can help us while many other solutions slowly wave their ways through the lawmaking process.”
Gerhart has posted a blog on the subject, you can see that here.
There was no action taken on this at the Monday meeting. It was simply a statement that the Chairman was compelled to make.