In Arlington, Tex., gun advocates petitioned the school board there Thursday night to allow licensed teachers and administrators to carry guns on public school campuses, reports CBS 11-TV.
Both activists and concerned parents told the school board that licensed school officials should be able to carry concealed handguns because it added a layer of safety to campuses. They argued that the gun carriers could act as a first line of defense.
"In a time where there's threats against schools," parent Rodney Homeke told the Arlington school board, "it's important to take care of our children. Not allowing guns provides an opportunity for schools to be a target."
David McElwee, a member of the National Rifle Association, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that school shootings are too unpredictable to prevent by beefing up security forces or technology.
"When someone bursts into a classroom ready to kill, it's too late," McElwee said. "It's over within five minutes."
Arlington school board members only listened to the arguments, but made no decision Thursday. Two school board members, however, told the Star-Telegram they thought it was a bad idea.
"It's just dangerous, and it's not necessary," school board trustee Wayne Ogle said before the meeting.
Ogle said the district contracts with the Arlington Police Department to keep officers at high schools and junior high schools.
"We're not an isolated district," he said. "At any given time of the day, a police officer is either on campus or literally seconds or minutes away."
Board Vice President Peter Baron said, "I don't think we need guns on campus."
One district in Texas near Wichita Falls about 120 miles northwest of Arlington already allows concealed weapons, a protective measure that school officials supported because the district is at least 20 minutes from the nearest sheriff's station. They were the first school district in the nation to allow armed employees in 2008.
The state's concealed-weapons law allows weapons to be carried at schools and at off-campus school activities only if the district's school board provides written authorization. However, guns cannot be brought into any government meeting under the law.