Minnesota law already allows teachers to carry guns in classrooms

Cornish says he knows teachers who are already in the habit of packing heat in the classroom.
Cornish says he knows teachers who are already in the habit of packing heat in the classroom.

In the wake of the Newtown school shooting, Andy Parrish advocated for arming Minnesota teachers. Gun rights advocate Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, said days later he'd introduce legislation toward that end this session.

SEE ALSO: Michele Bachmann's favorite gun is the Bushmaster AR-15 used in Newtown [VIDEO]

Turns out, new legislation isn't needed. A provision in Minnesota law already allows teachers to bring guns in the classroom if they have the permission of the school principal or their district's top administrator, according to a KARE report.

From KARE:

Minnesota law allows teachers with valid [carry] permits to bring their weapons into school with the advance, written permission of the school principal or top administrator.

It's unknown how many teachers have taken advantage of that relatively obscure provision in the state law, because it is not tracked by local police agencies or the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

That "relatively obscure provision" was also alluded to in a Cornish op-ed published today in the Star Tribune entitled, "Schools Need Guns."

People who reject the notion that more guns in schools could be a good thing "don't seem to realize that armed teachers have been allowed by state law for years in Minnesota and that some have taken advantage of it," Cornish writes. "I know there are teachers who carry while instructing."

In his op-ed, Cornish says he backs the NRA's proposal to put an armed guard in every school "100 percent," adding that he's "not an NRA pawn, and I don't take a dime from them, directly or through other channels."

"If colleges can pay their coaches millions per year and even our small schools can pour thousands into sports programs, they can afford part of an officer's salary," Cornish writes. "If you think a school shooter is going to drop his evil plan because he wakes up and sees he has to buy a 10-round magazine instead of a 30-round magazine, keep dreaming. It's more ineffective, 'feel-good' legislation."

But while it doesn't require anything more than administrative approval for teachers to pack heat, the cost of putting a paid armed guard in each of Minnesota's 1,968 public schools would be substantial.

According to a Strib report, if each guard were paid $70,500, the cost of implementing the NRA's plan here in Minnesota would be $138 million.

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