The latest gun control bill introduced to the Colorado legislature; House Bill 24-1310 (HB24-1310) takes aim at school safety. It may come as a surprise that a bill named “School Safety Measures” would make Colorado schools more vulnerable to active shooters. In a state home to several horrific mass shootings, including the infamous attack on Columbine High School, we wonder aloud why any lawmaker would advocate for the effective removal of armed school security from campuses. Yet, that is exactly what HB24-1310 would do.

This proposed legislation, while ostensibly seeking to address safety concerns in schools, has raised significant alarm among educators, parents and experts alike for its perceived inadequacies and unintended consequences.  

Local Control

For the past two decades, Colorado law has permitted school districts and charter schools to enlist armed volunteer staff on their premises, provided they meet certain criteria. Presently, school boards have the authority to designate specific employees as part of an armed security team. To qualify for this role, individuals must undergo background checks, a thorough vetting process, receive comprehensive training and pass qualification tests akin to those administered to law enforcement officers. 

This provision holds particular appeal for budget-constrained rural schools situated in remote areas, often located a significant distance—up to 10-20 minutes—away from a law enforcement response. Given the financial constraints faced by rural educational institutions, which typically cannot afford private security or School Resource Officers (SROs), the existing law offers them a viable means of safeguarding the students entrusted to their care from potential threats posed by active shooters. 

To date, not one negative incident has resulted from armed school staff in a school.

FASTER Colorado Training and Education

FASTER Colorado is the leading provider of training for volunteer school staff who choose to join an authorized security team in the state. FASTER is an acronym that stands for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training & Emergency Response and is a non-profit organization that has been training volunteers since 2017.  

In an opinion piece published in Colorado Politics, Laura Carno, FASTER Colorado founder and Executive Director, wrote: 

The K-12 schools in Colorado that have armed security teams represent schools in 41 of Colorado’s school districts. They have had armed security teams under the existing 20-year-old law with no negative issues. The armed school employees who have been through FASTER Colorado training number around 400, and we know of many more who get their training elsewhere. So, what is this law attempting to improve?

This latest legislative attack on school safety seems deliberately out of step with what we know works in protecting our kids and loved ones in schools.  

The Crime Prevention Research Center reported that schools that allow armed staff haven’t seen any school shootings during school hours, underscoring the significant deterrent effect. The uncertainty of whether a school has armed personnel ready to respond acts as a powerful deterrent, forcing potential assailants to reconsider their actions or seek alternative targets. 

HB24-1310 would repeal the existing law allowing local school boards the choice to permit authorized, vetted and trained volunteer staff to carry concealed on school grounds.

Our Take – Ideology Over Safety

If there have been zero problems with armed staff in Colorado schools for the last two decades, then HB24-1310 appears to be a “solution” looking for a non-existent problem. Why?   

The underlying motive appears to be a preference for ideology over pragmatism. During the 2024 legislative session, Colorado lawmakers have put forth one of the most ideologically driven sets of gun control bills the state has ever encountered. Alongside Colorado Senate Bill SB24-131, which seeks to curtail legal concealed carry in virtually all public spaces by designating them as “sensitive places,” lawmakers have also introduced a sweeping ban on semiautomatic firearms, proposed costly liability insurance mandates for gun owners, advocated for an expansion of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s mandate to establish a state ‘gun enforcement’ police force, and introduced burdensome new prerequisites for concealed carry permits. The effectiveness of these proposals is dubious at best and, at worst, they are poised to face constitutional challenges. 

In fact, we anticipate that Colorado gun control activists and their legislative allies are banking on legal challenges. As we previously reported, forcing gun rights groups to mount legal challenges to laws even gun control activists know are likely to be found unconstitutional is a form of political “lawfare,” designed to tie-up gun rights organizations in the courts for years, depleting their resources and making it more difficult to resist future overreaching legislation.

Where CCW Insurance Comes into Play

Second Call Defense extends legal defense protection to armed school volunteers, just as it does for all our members, covering both criminal and civil cases. In today’s political and social climate, it’s not far-fetched to envision a scenario where the parents of an active shooter might initiate a civil suit against an armed school staff member who has injured or neutralized the attacker. In such instances, Second Call Defense steps in with immediate and unlimited financial resources for legal defense expense coverage, empowering the good guy with the means to defend themselves against this form of lawfare.

FASTER Colorado gives authorized, vetted and trained school staff to defend themselves and students in the event of an active shooter threat. We encourage Coloradans to contact their state legislators and urge them to vote “no” on HB24-1310.

Additionally, we encourage those who legally carry concealed to stay current with all relevant laws and regulations and remain wary of ideologically driven gun control legislation pushed in the name of “safety.”  

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