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Updated Mar 13, 2013 - 4:37 pm

Senate debates bill allowing armed teachers

PHOENIX -- Designated teachers, administrators or other employees in rural schools and retired police officers working in any Arizona school could carry a handgun under a proposal that's received initial approval in the Arizona Senate.

The bill by Republican Sen. Rich Crandall of Mesa is the least sweeping of several legislative proposals to arm teachers and appears to be the most likely to win passage.

Democrats tried to add several provisions Wednesday, including making it apply only to very small rural schools. But all but one adding a requirement for lockers to be available were rejected.

Crandall argued his bill allowing rural schools far from police stations to arm employees improves safety. Democrats say putting guns in schools is a safety issue in itself.

The bill still needs final Senate approval.

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