Over 500 Colorado teachers attended a free concealed carry class Saturday at the Centennial Airport. The event was sponsored by the Centennial Gun Club, which held it to fight back against the, as they put it, “ongoing epidemic of school shootings and other illegal gun violence perpetrated in gun-free zones throughout the United States.”
Among those in attendance was first-grade teacher Samantha Schuller, who knows firsthand how it feels to be defenseless in the face of an armed assailant.
In 2006, a gunman took Schuller hostage along with five other students at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado. One of those students was killed as a result of the encounter. It’s something the 23-year-old will never forget.
“It has affected me my whole life,” Schuller told local news affiliate Fox 31 Denver.
“I don’t want to be afraid of the world I live in,” she continued. “And I’ve reached a point in my life, I want to protect myself and I don’t have to be a victim anymore.”
Following the eight hour course, Schuller will now have to the Centennial Gun Club range to work with a real gun and live ammunition. Once she completes the training, she’ll present her certificate to her local sheriff who will then issue the permit.
While Schuller will be able to carry in the public square, she will not be allowed to bring a firearm into the workplace as Colorado law mandates that schools be gun-free zones, an obvious frustration for the young woman.
“I know how it feels waking up one morning thinking it’s a completely normal day and then to go to bed that night and be completely changed forever — based on the experienced in one day and the choices of one person,” she told ABC 7. “It’s very disheartening to take all of the steps up to but then not be able to actually protect myself the way I want to.”
Yet, having a permit and being allowed to carry in many places is better than having no permit and not being allowed to cary in any place, something Schuller is mindful of.
“This is one small step I do for now. I figure out how to protect myself and those immediately around me,” she said.
“I don’t want to be helpless,” she added. “That’s the last thing I want.”