Utah town makes arming households a top priority
SPRING CITY, Utah (AP) — Officials in a small Utah town want to make sure every head of household has a firearm and knows how to use it, and they want to give school teachers training with guns too.
Spring City Councilman Neil Sorensen first proposed an ordinance requiring a gun in every household in the town of 1,000. The rest of the council scoffed at making it a requirement, but they unanimously agreed to move forward with an ordinance "recommending" the idea.
The council also approved funding to offer concealed firearms training Friday to the 20 teachers and administrators at the local elementary school.
"It sends a statement that criminals better think twice," Sorensen told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "If a teacher would have had a concealed weapon in Sandy Hook, I think the death loss would have been fewer. If sane, trained people had guns, they could have shot back."
The measure, which will go before the full council in February for further review, seems to have the support of the council's five members and many residents in the farming community about 90 miles south of Salt Lake City.
But school administrators don't think arming teachers is wise, and they are not encouraging teachers to participate in Friday's training.
"The more guns you have in the school, the more dangerous it is," said Leslie Keisel, superintendent of the North Sanpete School District.
Councilman Noel Bertelson said making guns in every house mandatory was too much, but he agrees the town would be safer if everyone was armed. With only a part-time police force, he said, response time is not like it is in a big city.
"If a person is able to take care of themselves for a while, it would probably be a good thing," Bertelson said.
The community is still reeling from the double-murder on New Year's Eve 2011 of an elderly couple in nearby Mount Pleasant. Sorensen said what used to be a peaceful, quiet town has been sullied by increasing criminal activity.
Thefts of metal for scrap and other property also have become a problem, Councilman Boyd Mickel said.
"We are kind of tired of people breaking in and taking stuff," said Mickel, explaining why he voted to urge every house to have a gun.
Timm Thompson, a coal miner and father of four girls who lives in Spring City, backs the council's measure.