Colorado school district votes to allow employees to carry guns

Dec 15 (Reuters) - A tiny school district in central Colorado has voted to allow teachers or other employees at its two schools to carry concealed handguns on the job if they volunteer to serve double duty as security officers in case of an emergency.

The Board of Education for Hanover School District #28 voted 3-2 to approve the resolution on Wednesday night, said Mark McPherson, board president.

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McPherson, who voted against the plan, said it was inspired less by the fear of a shooting rampage on campus than by the district's remote location, some 30 miles from the nearest sheriff's station.

"We had a board member who introduced the idea back in June who indicated he felt the need for this because of the distance and response time (from law enforcement) as well as all the (potential) trouble from marijuana grows," McPherson said.

The written resolution, however, says in part that it was drafted "in light of recent events nationally," apparently in reference to a string of shootings on school campuses.

McPherson said it was a coincidence that the measure was approved on the third anniversary of a Dec. 14, 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 students and six staff members were slain.

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Hanover School District #28 is comprised of one elementary school and one combined junior and senior high school, serving a total of about 245 students. Each school has about 10 teachers.

According to the resolution, any teacher or staff member with a permit to carry a concealed weapon can volunteer for extra duty as a security officer.

The employee must then complete training before being allowed to bring the gun to campus.

McPherson said that it was not yet clear how many of the 20 or so teachers in the district would sign up to be volunteer security officers but that the resolution did not set a limit on how many could carry weapons. (Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Dan Grebler)