The owner of a gun range in Michigan was inspired by President Donald Trump’s idea to arm teachers in order to protect students in the case of a school shooting.
Michael Barbour, the owner of Top Gun Shooting Sports, saw footage of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, and wanted to do something to help.
“When the idea of arming teachers was floated by the President, I saw so many people coming out against it, saying teachers did not want it,” Barbour told The Daily Caller. “I thought I’d do my part and just offer some free classes.”
Barbour wasn’t expecting much of a response, hoping to fill a couple of classes with approximately 20 teachers. But within minutes of posting the ad, the calls began to pour in.
“People started signing up within minutes,” Barbour said. “390 spots were filled in 10 days. We’ve been overwhelmed with the response.”
According to Barbour, teachers came by the carload. Some drove from as far away as three hours to take the free gun safety and handling classes. The range has had to add more classes to keep up with demand.
Teachers learn basic firearm safety and shoot live rounds at the range as part of the course. Barbour said some teachers are nervous at first, but then get the hang of it.
“Some of the teachers are very experienced,” Barbour said. “They’re excellent marksmen.”
According to Barbour, the idea that teachers don’t want to carry guns is “extremely false.” Plus, the teachers aren’t the only ones interested.
“We’ve had school maintenance people, bus drivers, lunchroom staff, special education staff and administrators show up to learn how to shoot,” he said.
Michigan prohibits guns on school property, but given Trump’s conviction about arming teachers, Barbour wants to prepare those teachers who want to learn.
“My whole goal is to make teachers more friendly to firearms,” Barbour said. “So if they ever pass a law to allow school carry, the teachers will be ready.”
Trump proposed arming properly trained teachers in order to protect schools in case of an attempted mass shooting. Some locales already allow teachers to carry guns. In Florida, the state legislature passed a bill that would let teachers carry weapons in schools with approval from the local school board and sheriff’s department.
Barbour said he often sees teachers become emotional after the courses, thanking him and his instructors for the support.
“They tell me they would do anything to make sure their kids get home safely,” Barbour said. “It’s great to see teachers so excited to learn their rights,” Barbour.
“I feel like the answer is not to take away guns, but to empower us and train people to be able to protect themselves,” Jackie McMillion, a special education teacher who took the free class on March 11, told the News Herald. “Growing up using guns, I was taught to use it responsibly.”