Tomes and other gun-rights advocates emphasized that they don't think teachers should be required to carry guns, merely that they should be given the option. And, they said, anyone who carries a gun in school should be extensively trained.
"The last thing you want is untrained people with guns in schools," said Guy Relford, who has filed lawsuits to make sure local governments and employers comply with state laws that allow concealed carry or let people keep guns in their cars at work.
Relford, who is also a firearms instructor, said in light of the Sandy Hook shootings he is offering free classes to people with proper gun permits who are authorized by a school to carry a weapon.
Others said having guns in school is a bad idea regardless of who is carrying them.
"I don't think that proliferation of firearms on school property is good for kids," said Nate Schnellenberger, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association.
Hibbert, the former state trooper, said arming teachers could have serious consequences. For example, he said, where would a teacher keep a gun — in his or her desk or in a holster? What if the teacher had to break up a fight? A student might be able to take the gun away. And if a gun is fired, where should the teacher aim to avoid a stray bullet hitting someone?
"I do respect the fact that schools feel they have to do something," Hibbert said. But, he added, "Arming teachers to me would be the last step rather than the first step."