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Senate Vote Allows Armed School Staff

State senators voted this week to allow a teacher, administrator, custodian or cafeteria worker at rural and some suburban schools to be armed. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

That right to arm a staffer would exist at any school with fewer than 600 students that is located at least 20 miles and 30 minutes from the closest law enforcement facility. Senator Rich Crandall said they are too remote to wait for police to arrive if a gunman comes onto campus.

But the Republican-controlled Senate rebuffed a proposal by Democrat Steve Gallardo to require that if the designated staffer loses the weapon or has it stolen, that has to be reported to police. Gallardo derided that opposition saying, "the only reason that gun owners do not want to report they lost their gun or they misplaced it is because they're too embarrassed. They don't want people to know that they're an irresponsible firearm holder." And, he said notice of an errant gun really should not be limited to police. "At the very least, I would believe every parent would want to know if their child is going to a school that may have a gun roaming around."

But Senate Majority Leader John McComish called it unnecessary. He said, "it sounds good, feels good. But in the real world I don't believe the Gallardo floor amendment would have any real impact and it does impose on folks without having any impact on the real world."