WASHINGTON - With endorsements from President Trump and the NRA to arm teachers, some parents and gun advocates have been pushing to make this a reality in US schools.
Advocates in the push to arm teachers and school staff point to the fatal school shooting at Great Mills High School in Maryland this year, where a resource officer engaged a shooter before he was able to kill more victims.
In July, Lee County in Southwest Virginia unanimously voted to allow a number of teachers and staff to carry concealed weapons or safes at school. The county is first district in the Commonwealth to move toward permitting firearms in the classroom as a measure to prevent school shootings.
But, the Attorney General of Virginia says schools don’t legally the authority.
AG Mark Herring has issued a new legal opinion, saying that the Commonwealth's law does not allow people to bring guns onto school grounds, unless they are actually police or security.
“State law provides options for schools to employ security personnel who have law enforcement training, what the law doesn't allows for it schools to deploy unqualified personnel, and with good reason,” he said.
Opponents say the proposal in Lee County can't move forward because the General Assembly has never exempted teachers from a law that makes it a crime for most people to carry guns on school property.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northman tells FOX5 he not only opposes the idea of arming teachers in state schools, but he's backing Attorney General Herring's legal opinion that Vjrgina law doesn't allow for non-police or security officers to carry firearms at schools.
“I support teachers across our Commonwealth, but I just think that they should be there to educate, and not serve as law enforcement agents so I think the Attorney General opinion is correct and I certainly support it,” said Gov. Northam.
In addition to the legal opinion, Herring instructed the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services that it cannot register teachers as "special conservators of the peace" for the purposes of arming them on school grounds.