CHICAGO (CBS)—Gun laws restrict Illinois teachers from bringing firearms to school, but many are still learning how to shoot.
CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar went to On Target Range and Tactical Center in northwest suburban Crystal Lake, where more than 150 teachers are enrolled in a free 16-hour class to earn their Concealed Carry license.oREAD MORE: Chicago Weather: Rounding Out The Warmest Weekend Of The Winter
Firearm training instructor Tom Dorsch led the classes Monday. Dorsch pointed out the basic parts of the gun as the teachers-turned-students listened intently.
“You are going to have the cylinder latch here….”
In addition to being issued a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card, gun owners in Illinois need Concealed Carry training.
The class in Crystal Lake is taught mostly in a classroom setting, with some of the time spent in the shooting range.
Round Lake Middle School social studies teacher Kim Emary described the newfound fear that spread across U.S. classrooms after this year’s shooting in Parkland, Fla.
“After the Parkland shooting there was that fear as an educator that this could happen at any school,” Emary said.
Her colleague, social studies teacher Austin O’Connor, said the free classes piqued his interest.
“I’m not even gun crazy—I’m not the type that’s like ‘guns, guns guns,’ but I want to learn more,” O’Connor said.
Emary said teachers have a duty to protect the kids they teach.READ MORE: MISSING: Khoshaba Dikyanos, 84, Last Seen In Lincoln Square
“Teachers do have a lot of responsibility, but we are (also) responsible for those kids in the classroom,” Emary said.
President Trump began floating the idea of arming teachers after the Parkland shooting, which left 17 people dead, mostly teenagers.
Illinois law currently bans guns from schools.
A downstate school district is considering a measure to equip teachers with firearms, De Mar reports.
School board members discussed exploring whether any loopholes in the law would allow teachers to carry guns, but the Illinois Education Association—along with Chicago Public Schools—have staunchly opposed such ideas.
Despite growing interest in firearm training among teachers, state lawmakers have not introduced any legislation to loosen current Concealed Carry laws.
“There are a lot of concerned instructors and teachers out there who want to do something to protect the children of this state,” Dorsch said.
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