SALT LAKE CITY - Gun-rights advocates in Utah have offered six hours of training in handling concealed weapons for teachers, in the wake of the mass shooting that killed 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

On Thursday, about 200 Utah teachers flocked to an indoor sports arena for free instruction in the handling of firearms by gun activists from the Utah Shooting Sports Council – who say armed educators might have a chance of thwarting deadly shooting rampages in their schools, Reuters reports.

The move comes after the National Rifle Association (NRA) proposed placing an armed officer at each of the nation's schools. Instruction features plastic guns and a major emphasis will be for people who are facing deadly threats to announce they have a gun and retreat or take cover before trying to shoot, the Utah Shooting Sports Council told Foxnews.

Clark Aposhian, president of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, clarified the group’s stance on the presence of weapons in schools: "What we're talking about is not arming teachers," he told CNN, adding that locking doors and hiding behind a desk "just isn't doing it anymore." "We're simply not taking away that ability of lawful self-defense within a school."

Gun control activists have criticized calls to arm teachers and said efforts at curbing gun violence in schools should be tied to tightening firearms laws. Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C., told Reuters: "We think it makes a lot more sense to prevent a school shooter from getting the gun in the first place."

“It’s a terrible idea,” Carol Lear, the chief lawyer for the Utah Office of Education, told the Associated Press -- arguing that teachers could be overpowered for their guns or misfire or cause an accidental shooting. “It’s a horrible, terrible, no-good, rotten idea.”

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