An Alabama lawmaker says arming teachers to protect against gun violence in schools is a bad idea because “it’s mostly ladies that’s teaching” and the majority of them would not feel comfortable carrying a weapon.
State Rep. Harry Shiver (R) made his comments during a legislative committee hearing last Thursday on a measure that would allow certain teachers in Alabama to carry firearms after undergoing training and gaining a recommendation from a school or police official.
“We don’t need to have a lady teacher in a school that’s got a firearm,” Shiver said, citing his experience as a retired teacher.
“I taught for 32 years, and it’s mostly ladies that’s teaching, and they got more things to worry about than a gun,” he said.
He elaborated on his comments in an interview with AL.com, claiming that many women “are scared of guns” and that lawmakers should protect “our ladies.”
“Most women wouldn’t like to be put in that position” of being armed, he said. “If they want to, then that’s good. But most of them don’t want to learn how to shoot ... and carry a gun.”
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The committee approved the bill, sending it to the full House, which will debate it this week.
Other states are considering similar legislative provisions in response to last month’s school massacre in Parkland, Florida.
President Donald Trump also backs allowing “highly trained expert teachers” to pack firearms in schools as “a deterrent” ― one of the few gun-related proposals he’s offered in the wake of the Florida shooting and one that the National Rifle Association supports.
At the Alabama committee hearing, Democratic Rep. Mary Moore agreed with Shiver, saying that “you can’t find a male” in schools that she has encountered.
“I know in Birmingham, you can’t find a male, you could go to four or five schools in a row, and there’s not one male in any of those schools to do much of anything,” she said.
Moore also claimed that school superintendents “will hire a female over a male teacher because they say it’s easier to control a female teacher.”
About 79 percent of Alabama’s public school teachers are female, according to state Department of Education data for the 2017-18 school year.
Nationally, 77 percent of public school teachers in the 2015-16 school year were female, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.