Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has suggested arming teachers in the wake of an attack that left more than a dozen children and two adults dead at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
During an appearance on Newsmax, Paxton said having teachers and staff trained in firearm defense and armed would make it “more difficult for people even to get in that point of entry.”
“First responders typically can’t get there in time to prevent a shooting,” he said. “It’s just not possible unless they have a police officer on camera on every campus, which for a lot of these schools is almost impossible.
“I think you’re gonna have to do more at the school, because it typically involves very short periods of time, and you have to have people trained on campus to react.”
The comment comes after the 18-year-old suspect, identified as Salvador Ramos, on Tuesday afternoon opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde before he was killed by police. As of Wednesday, the police have found and identified 21 victims, including 19 children and two teachers.
The gunman’s motive so far remains unclear. He first shot his grandmother at home, then fled the scene in a car, crashing it near the school before he walked into the classroom and opened fire, according to reports.
This is not the first time Paxton has suggested carrying weapons at places that are usually considered “weapon-free zones” as a means to combat potential threats. In 2015, he supported a law that allows license holders to carry concealed handguns on college and university campuses. In November 2017, following the Sutherland Springs church shooting that killed 26 worshipers, he said that congregation members should consider arming themselves to better respond to similar events.
“In Texas, at least we have the opportunity to concealed carry,” Paxton said in an interview with Fox News at that time, arguing that there is then always the possibility the attacker may be “taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people.”
“We’ve had shootings at churches forever. This is going to happen again,” he added. “And so, we need people in terms of professional security or in terms of arming the parishioners or the congregation so that they can respond when something like this happens again.”
Devin P. Kelley, who killed 26 people and injured 22 more at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, was confronted outside the church and forced into a gunfight by Stephen Willeford, a local resident and former NRA firearms instructor armed with an AR-15 rifle. Willeford continued to pursue Kelley after wounding the gunman in the leg and torso. Kelley eventually crashed his vehicle in the pursuit and shot himself in the head.