Arizona gubernatorial candidate’s school safety plan includes arming staff

JUNE 19, 2018 AT 4:46 AM

PHOENIX — Former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett recently released his school safety plan as part of his campaign for Arizona governor, which included arming staff members.

As part of the plan, Bennett pledged to train “willing, competent and capable” staff members on carrying firearms in schools, create a task force to focus on student safety during emergencies, train school officials on “basic emergency operational control skills.”

The plan would, according to Bennett, “not remove guns but will put guns where necessary to protect our children. The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

Bennett also said he supports tax credits for staff members willing to be armed in schools and supports putting law enforcement officers in schools, “especially when a viable threat is identified to give immediate protection for our students.”

If elected, Bennett said he would first create a taste force that would “focus on student safety in our schools during man-made and natural emergencies with an emphasis on the worst case scenario: To control a school during an active shooter situation.”

The task force, according to Bennett, would include emergency response personnel, facility emergency operational control experts, infrastructure specialists and facility hardening analysts.

The plan would also “address the infrastructure needs of our school facilities during an emergency and of students with severe mental health issues” by “tracking severe mental health issues instead of who is getting a gun.”

Current Gov. Doug Ducey’s school safety plan, which was released in March, would aim to make schools and communities safer by increasing mental and behavioral health resources, restricting access to firearms and tightening background checks.

One of the biggest portions of the governor’s plan, titled “Safe Arizona Schools Plan,” was implementing a Severe Threat Order of Protection order.

The order, also called STOP, would allow law enforcement officials or other specific individuals, such as family members, school administrators or behavioral and mental health professionals, to petition the court and prevent an individual who “poses a significant threat” to themselves or others from purchasing a weapon.

Bennett said this order “focuses too heavily on seizing guns. My plan restores the focus to protecting our children.”

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