Arkansas school district will arm teachers, AG opinion be damned

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Robby Soave Reporter
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An Arkansas school district that was advised against arming its staff by the state attorney general has decided to let teachers carry guns anyway.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel recently issued an advisory opinion to Clarksville schools instructing them to abandon plans to let teachers and staff volunteer to carry weapons on school grounds. The teachers and staff had already completed a two-day gun training program that district administrators believed would ultimately make their schools safer in the event of a mass shooting.

Clarksville Superintendent David Hopkins initially interpreted McDaniel’s ruling to mean that the district could not deputize staff members. But after consulting with his own attorneys, Hopkins concluded that McDaniel’s opinion was neither correct nor binding.

Unless the Arkansas State Police shut down the program, Clarksville schools are set to allow teachers and staff to carry weapons when the fall semester begins on Aug. 19.

“We’re sitting on go,” Hopkins said in a statement.

Hopkins also criticized McDaniel’s conduct in the process.

“The only thing that’s detracting from this process is the attorney general’s erroneous opinion,” he said.

Clarksville administrators are still waiting for roughly one-third of the deputized staff members to receive their carry permits. If the state does not issue the rest of the permits, Clarksville will consider legal action, Hopkins said.

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