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Hickenlooper: 'Open' To Discussion About Arming Teachers

DENVER (CBS4) - Gov. John Hickenlooper said he's willing to talk about the possibility of teachers carrying guns in Colorado schools.

"I'm certainly open to that discussion," he said during an interview with CBS4. "The ability of people to defend themselves in a world that increasingly looks chaotic (is important). There is not a parent in this state that doesn't want to make sure we're doing everything possible to make their kid safe."

Some state lawmakers have said that armed teachers might have prevented the shooting death of Arapahoe High School student Claire Davis nearly a year ago. That the governor would consider having the conversation draws a more centrist line. He signed gun-control laws in 2013 that limited the capacity of magazines and expanded background checks for firearm purchases. Those two pieces of legislation -- and the fallout from them -- considerably hampered Hickenlooper in his bid to keep office.

The governor said how the state handles immunizations, another hot-button topic for parents, need to be closely watched. There are several groups nationally and in Colorado that believe inoculations for common childhood diseases cause health problems.

"Our goal is to figure out how we make sure that the people who are taking the personal exemption … really care about it," he said.

Hickenlooper, who narrowly won re-election earlier this month to a second term, said that while school safety is important, so is success. He said the state should examine whether longer days or school calendars would improve students' education.

"Just look at the schools that are really doing well across the state. Many of them are either charter schools or public schools that have an experimental component that are using longer days or longer years. We should be looking at it intensely," Hickenlooper said.

The governor will be working with a split Legislature for the first time. State Republicans won control of the state Senate on Election Day.

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