A Democrat vying for State Rep. Harry Shiver’s House seat has issued a response to the incumbent’s controversial argument against arming teachers on the basis that most teachers are women and would be “scared of guns.”Shiver, R-Stockton, made the comments during a hearing of the House Public Safety Committee last week while discussing a proposed bill to allow trained teachers and administrators to carry guns on school campuses in Alabama.
A retired teacher, Shiver worked in public education for more than three decades but female teachers, who are the majority in Alabama schools, “are scared of guns.” However, he later clarified that he wasn’t “saying all (women)” during an interview with Al.com.
“In most schools, women are [the majority] of the teachers,” he’s quoted saying. “Some of them just don’t want to [be trained to possess firearms].”
While it’s true the proposal — introduced by Rep. Will Ainsworth, R-Guntersville — has been unpopular among most teachers and administrators, Shiver’s argument against the bill made national news, and not just because he broke from the ranks of many Alabama Republicans.
Earlier this week, a female member of Alabama’s state school board posted a lighthearted, but direct, response to Shiver’s comments on her personal Twitter account.
Mary Scott Hunter, a veteran of the Air National Guard and a state GOP Senate candidate in Madison County, tweeted photos of her firing an M16 rifle in desert fatigues. The caption read: “Harry, I love ya, but come on…Ladies carry weapons just fine.”
Friday morning, Democrat Amber Selman-Lynn issued a statement claiming Shiver’s comments missed the point of why many teachers are opposed to carrying weapons in the classroom.
“I began shooting with my dad when I was 8 years old. This isn’t about women being scared, it’s about common sense,” Selman-Lynn said. “We saw just this week during the tragic incident in Maryland how a trained resource officer was able to immediately and effectively deal with a threat within that school. Let teachers teach and keep guns out of our kids’ classrooms.”
According to her bio, Selman-Lynn is currently a stay-at-home mom, though she has a background in mental health as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). She’s also one of several Democratic candidates challenging incumbents in deeply red Baldwin County this year.
As for Ainsworth’s legislative efforts to arm school personnel, Alabama House Speaker Mac McCutcheon suggested they were dead in the water for the time being.
With the regular session scheduled to end before April 23, McCutcheon said it would be Ainsworth’s proposal would have to revisit in the next legislative session.
However, he placed some of the blame on Alabama Democrats and their threats to filibuster the bill if it came to the House floor for a vote.
“Although the bill was in a position to be considered [March 20], the Democratic opponents of the legislation were prepared to lock down the chamber to prevent its approval,” McCutcheon wrote in a statement. “There was also a lot of misinformation distributed to educators, school administrators, law enforcement and parents that needed to be corrected. I can offer a personal guarantee that this issue will be revisited when the Legislature convenes its next session.”