CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. — A suburban gun range is offering free training to teachers. Illinois law currently prohibits guns in schools, but range owners said it hasn’t stopped educators from signing up.
At the On Target Range and Tactical Training Center, they are pulling out the welcome mat for teachers and offering free instruction at one of their conceal and carry classes.
“I have a vested interest as a father when I let my little girl go on the bus in the morning I can’t protect her,” Thomas Dorsch, the director of operations, said.
Dorsh said one day after he put the word out, the response from area teachers and other school employees has been beyond his wildest expectations.
“The phone has been ringing off the hook for the last 24 hours and we already have 100 people signed up,” he said.
In the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida school shooting and Wednesday’s walkout out by students across the nation in protest, President Donald Trump advocated arming teachers.
But teachers’ unions and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police believe it’s better to have professionally trained police and security guards.
But customers at On Target, like Michelle Panek and her daughter Sam who is a teacher in training, are open to the idea.
“I think it’s wonderful. I think teachers should be equipped to help protect the kids in the classroom and themselves,” Panek said.
Dorsch acknowledges there are risks to having guns in school, but it may be able to stop even just one innocent person from being killed in yet another school shooting.
“If the bad guys know in this particular school there are some armed teachers they aren’t gonna be coming around,” Dorsh said.
State law prohibits concealed carry licensed holders from bringing guns into schools but Dorsch said these classes would prepare teachers in case that law changes.