SANDY, Utah – A small business owner is offering a concealed carry class, free of charge, to Utah educators and students over the age of 18.
Bryan Melchior owns UtahGunExchange.com. He believes arming teachers could prevent tragedies like the shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people.
“The biggest misconception about someone carrying a firearm is that they are a danger or a threat,” Melchior said.
Melchior is a parent himself.
“It’s high time we defend our children,” he said.
He reasons that having armed teachers would stop any gunmen from targeting schools.
“The message to the bad guys is this—our schools are heavily armed,” Melchior said. “Our schools are not gun-free zones. If you try to hurt our children in our schools, you will be shot.”
Melchior would like to see the majority of teachers carry concealed firearms in class.
The concealed carry class takes place on Saturday, March 3rd in Sandy. On Facebook, more than 300 people have expressed interest in attending the class.
“You know what that tells us is there is demand and the demand is real,” Melchior said.
But not all educators are on board with Melchior’s solution.
At a vigil at the Utah State Capitol to honor the Florida shooting victims, Chelsie Acosta, a teacher, expressed her desire for lawmakers to do something about gun control.
“We wanted to be respectful today of Florida and give them healing and love and support,” Acosta said. “Definitely the next conversation is what we are going to do about gun control?”
Dozens of teachers and students attended the vigil. For many of them, this tragedy hits too close to home.
“Teachers just don’t know how to process this anymore,” Acosta said.
Both sides are passionate about their views and proposed solutions. For now, the debate will continue, as the nation tries to figure out how to stop gun violence on school campuses.