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Jesse Bohannon, Republican candidate for the District 48 Indiana House seat (Photo Supplied)
Indiana House candidate thinks schools should consider arming qualified staffers to deter violence
Posted on Feb. 11, 2014 at 6:41 p.m.

ELKHART — Indiana House hopeful Jesse Bohannon thinks schools should consider arming qualified staffers as a deterrent to violence and mass shootings.

"Uniformed armed guards are expensive and may become targets themselves," Bohannon said in a statement Monday, Feb. 10, after news emerged that a Concord Community Schools employee, also a reserve Elkhart County Sheriff's Department officer, had resigned under pressure for carrying a gun on school property. "But I suggest schools consider selecting, training and authorizing qualified and anonymous volunteers from their existing staff (to) carry concealed weapons while performing their normal duties."

If schools here "announced their readiness to meet force with force, a predator planning the next mass shooting would move on to a softer target," said Bohannon, one of three Republicans running for the District 48 Indiana House seat. The Concord employee, Rick Ball, hadn't received authorization to carry a gun on school grounds, according to a school official, and that led to his departure.

Ultimately, voters would have to decide on the matter through election of school board members, said Bohannon, who works at an alternative school in Elkhart, The Crossing Education Center. But he seemed to use the turn of events as a launch pad to air his view on gun rights and what he sees as "passive" school safety measures like cameras and secure entry points. "Predators who want (maximum) damage, minimal resistance and media attention still find schools and other gun-free zones very soft and attractive targets," Bohannon said.

He hopes Ball's departure spurs increased conversation on the matter.

"Only a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun," he said. He continued: "By beginning debate today, at this time next year tens of good men and women like Ball could be helping remove Elkhart County's schools from the 'gun-free' target list."

Follow reporter Tim Vandenack on Twitter at @timvandenack.