Should Texas establish armed 'school marshals'?

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WFAA

Posted on May 5, 2013 at 10:53 PM

Poll:
Do you think Texas should establish a program for armed school marshals?

Reaction is coming in to what was dubbed "Gun Bill Saturday" in Austin, with 14 firearm-related bills on the Texas House calendar.

Lawmakers didn't get to all of them, but did approve a few controversial measures that will now be considered by the State Senate.

One would let licensed students carry concealed handguns on college campuses.

Another measure would arm pre-selected employees at public schools. State Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) says those employees would serve as school marshals.

"When that moment occurs — when the front door is kicked in and children's' lives are being threatened — these individuals can respond in seconds, not in minutes," Villalba said. "We have wonderful law enforcement throughout the State of Texas, but they can't be everywhere at all times."

But some critics say security should be provided by a police officer stationed at every school, because if anyone is going to be armed on campus, it should be someone who has more training than school marshals would get.

"What the legislature has suggested is that 80 hours would be sufficient, but we don't feel that is adequate," said Rena Honea of the Alliance/AFT teachers union. "Even trained police officers who have been in crisis situations for many years still struggle in the split-second decisions that have to be made."

Rocker Ted Nugent closed out the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Houston on Sunday. It was the group's first gathering since the deadly shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado.

An estimated 70,000 people attended the convention.

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