Arming teachers with guns may not be the best solution to preventing school shootings, but it certainly isn’t a bad idea. And be sure — the people who reject the idea outright are more preoccupied with banning guns than they are in addressing violence.
Gun control seeks to prevent potential shooters by limiting their legal access to guns. This is, of course, a good thing; people who are known to be or have demonstrated that they are a danger to themselves or others should be barred from obtaining a weapon. But, even if you could fully repeal the Second Amendment, all it would take is one shooting with a then-illegal firearm to teach the important lesson that gun advocates have been repeating for years — government cannot protect you from everything.
In that hypothetical scenario of a school shooting in a country with no legal guns, what’s your proposed solution? If you’re smart, your solution will focus not on the disarmament of a potential shooter, but rather on the deterrence of, and defense from, an active shooter. Let’s determine those solutions and strategies now, instead of pretending that gun-control laws alone will protect our nation’s children.
The best strategy will involve the use of an equal and opposite force — a good guy with a gun. This is already the foundation of our current tactic, we’ve merely outsourced that responsibility to the police. The proposal to arm teachers (and/or administrative personnel) simply suggests that schools bring that responsibility back in-house. The thinking goes that if we need a good guy with a gun to protect against a bad guy with a gun, then we might as well use the good guys already there — teachers.
Let’s get something out of the way first — I am by no means suggesting that all teachers should be mandated by law to carry a firearm. Teachers already have a tremendous workload and responsibility, and requiring them to obtain a gun and spend their time at the range maintaining their skills is an unreasonable request that would justifiably upset them.
But, there certainly are some teachers and administrative personnel who already own firearms. If we need good guys with guns in schools, why not empower the people already there? Instead of turning our schools into dangerous gun-free zones (according to the Crime Prevention Research Center, over 96 percent of all mass shootings since 1950 have occurred in gun-free zones), let’s allow those individuals who already own and know how to use guns, and who already need to be on campus, to do so.
There should be a minimum number of armed individuals in schools proportional to either the student population or the size of the building. Are there enough of these hypothetical gun-enthusiast teachers to adequately staff our nation’s schools? In all likelihood, probably not presently, but we can create strong financial incentives for teachers to obtain firearms training (whether you agree with them or not, teachers all claim they’re not paid enough). In the meantime, fill the gap with armed guards.
Critics of guns in schools cry out, “But what about gun safety? What about adequate training?”So, require the teachers who want to carry on school grounds to meet minimum training requirements. Impose strict penalties for failure to adhere to safety rules. These and others are all legitimate concerns, but they aren’t severe enough to merit disqualification of the proposal altogether. They can be mitigated by well-crafted policy. Or did you suddenly lose faith in the effectiveness of law?
By David Kravitz
David Kravitz is a retired poet, on-hiatus stand-up comedian, and working database administrator. He is available for birthday parties, anniversaries, and anywhere there are board games. He lives in DC with no kids and no dogs.