CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Colorado holds its first and largest-ever concealed carry class -- that specifically targets educators.
The class drew a large response, even though Colorado does not allow teachers to carry guns at school.
Organizers say it’s in response to the ongoing epidemic of school shootings across the country.
"It has affected me my whole life," says teacher Samantha Schuller, 23.
She was one of six hostages in a school shooting in Bailey eight years ago that left a classmate dead.
"I don't want to be afraid of the world I live in," she says. "And I've reached a point in my life, I want to protect myself and I don't have to be a victim anymore.".
That's why the second-year teacher is joining about 500 other teachers, principals and superintendents at Centennial Gun Club's free concealed carry class.
Here, teachers turn their learning towards firearms.
They learn everything from the parts of a firearm on a training pistol, to the fundamentals of shooting, with lots of target practice.
The organizer says they created this event to take aim at the dangers teachers and their students can face at school.
"You go to school to learn, you go to school to educate, and you shouldn't have to worry about if people are going to come in and shoot up a classroom,” says high school math teacher Angela Calvin.
But teachers learn skills they cannot use on school grounds right now.
"We do hope the laws will change," says Dick Abramson, general manager of the gun club.
For Schuller, it's disheartening to know she's educating herself on guns, but won't be able to carry at school.
But at least, she says, this is something.
"This is one small step I do for now. I figure out how to protect myself and those immediately around me," says Schuller.
Because she won't be a victim.
"I don't want to be helpless. That's the last thing I want," she says.
Teachers will have to return to the Centennial Gun Club range to practice shooting. Then, they'll get a certificate to present to their county sheriff, who'll give them a concealed carry permit.AlertMe