A Republican state senator from Arkansas who is leading a legislative committee on the subject of giving guns to school teachers accidentally shot a teacher during an "active shooter" drill earlier this year, the local paper of record has uncovered.
State Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson put forward a proposal in the wake of last December's mass shooting event at Sandy Hook Elementary School that would allow law enforcement officials to deputize teachers and other staff members, effectively putting them in charge of school safety.
But an embarrassing item in today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette might make other local politicians wary of placing the gun debate in Hutchinson's hands:
After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Hutchinson became interested in arming school personnel, he said. He was invited to attend an 'active shooter' training and - using a rubber bullet-loaded pistol - he mistakenly shot a teacher who was confronting a 'bad guy.'
The experience gave Hutchinson some pause, but he still supports giving schools the authority to decide how best to secure their campuses.
Interestingly, an item on the training exercise published by the office of Rep. Kim Hammer, who was also in attendance, omitted the part about Hutchinson shooting someone, but did include this priceless quote:
“It was intense, enlightening and when we weren’t being shot, it was fun,” said Sen. Hutchinson. “I learned how little I knew about school safety.”