KATY, Texas (NBC News) -- Even as lawmakers are debating gun control laws following the Sandy Hook shootings and as schools decide how they might beef up security, teachers across the country aren't waiting. Thousands are flocking to gun training, and many of those classes are now being offered to educators for free.
At gun ranges like Tactical Firearms, in Katy, Texas, this is the time to come practice or learn to shoot. Because on the weekends recently, the wait can be up to an hour and a half. Many of the lanes filled with teachers, who are themselves, looking to learn.
The concealed handgun training classes offered in Waco, Texas at Big Iron Concealed Handgun Training by Johnny Price are usually full, but never have the seats been filled by so many teachers. Price has been waiving the $85 fee for educators since the Sandy Hook murders. The response has been overwhelming.
Andrea Holdbrook is a high school English teacher who now believes she must also know the language of safety. Holdbrook told NBC's Janet Shamlian, "I think that it's important for me to get prepared in case I ever do have to defend myself or my students."
Across the country, classes have been packed with teachers looking to learn. Some have no interest in carrying a gun in the classroom; however, many believe arming a few would make all less of a target. And yet, the idea of putting a weapon in the same room as a child has some parents outraged. Wendy Taylor, a mother of 3 children, said, "I don't agree with it all... I think there's enough violence. It's showing the kids that violence is OK."
For high school teacher Jennifer hutchinson, who's been thinking about taking this class for three years, it was time - she says -- to stop thinking and start doing. She said, "after the Connecticut shooting and all the other shootings that have happened in schools, it's definitely a fear and a struggle everyday."