Arming Teachers

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Arming teachers comes up in the media in the wake of every tragedy that happens at a school. Whether a grammar school, high school or university, the conversation turns to what we can do to stop the next spree killer. Even better, what can we do to stop the idea occurring to the next would-be spree killer of coming in and finding unprotected targets on a school campus?

Teachers With Guns vs. Arming Teachers

Rob Pincus emphasizes that there’s a big difference between these two concepts. Arming teachers isn’t a solution. The idea that an outside authority will come in and make school security the responsibility of the educator doesn’t make sense, in Rob’s opinion. Teachers have a hard enough job trying to educate the children in our school systems.

What does make sense is promoting the right to carry. Every individual has the right to self-defense and, over the past 30 years in the United States, we’ve seen incredible growth in the right to carry a defensive firearm. Many states have gone from having no permit capacity at all to having the “shall issue” right to carry, meaning people do not have to justify why they want to carry a firearm for personal defense.

Constitutional Carry

In over a dozen states, it is now legal to carry a firearm without any kind of permit process. This is “Constitutional carry” and is the ultimate expression of the right to carry. This issue is at the heart of teachers with guns. We should have a national right to carry. If someone is legally able to carry a gun when not at work, they should not be prohibited from carrying while at work, and this includes school teachers and staff.

Teachers who already carry firearms for self-defense and for defending others during an active-shooter incident should not be denied the opportunity to do so.

Training Standards

These dedicated teachers would seek out the extra handgun training they need to raise their competency level to be as effective as possible in an active-shooter incident at their schools, not only to protect themselves but also to protect the children.

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17 Responses to “Arming Teachers”

  1. Larry Arnold

    According to the Texas Association of School Boards at least one of every five school districts in Texas have armed faculty, and that figure is from 2012, nearly a decade ago. First, there have been no problems (Or everyone would have heard about it.) Second, no school so protected has been attacked (Of course school shootings are so rare that could be by chance.) So it would seem to be working. Eliminating schools as a licensed-carry “gun free zone” would seem the next step.

  2. Pete

    Just watched your video in arming teachers. You muddy the water by saying that making teachers carry in a school is wrong and then saying every able bodied person who wishes to carry in school should be allowed is playing semantics. To my knowledge no one is saying teachers should be forced to arm themselves and protect others. I am all for removing the gun free zones which create the soft targets most often assaulted by the mentally ill mass shooters. That said, in any setting like a school, where there are many unarmed people who may need protection, those who chose to provide that protection will require proper training and a will designed and practiced plan to execute in the event of an incident.

  3. Michael Mishue

    There’s a huge gaping hole in this. We all know that not everyone that carries is responsible, safe or trained to a level that carrying in this type of environment requires. These are not the people that we need carrying around our children. I am a firm believer in the Constitution and that we should allow those that want to carry in schools to do so. That’s the reason that I believe the schools would need extremely tight regulations, carriers should be teachers, on a voluntary basis and need to be prepared to provide the training. I have met many legal carriers that scare the crap out of me and that I know wouldn’t make the best decisions when the stuff hit the fan. The level of training required for this would be fairly extensive and expensive and most likely not affordable on a teacher’s salary. Unless local law enforcement is going to provide the training free to the teachers, but then someone will still have to pay for that even. All I know is that I don’t want just anyone that has a concealed carry permit to do so in such environment. Not with kids making some of the stupid decisions that they make and possibly thousands of Barney Fife teachers carrying that aren’t truly prepared.

  4. Lonnie Powell

    I like the way you explain the difference between arming teachers and teachers being armed. I think if it was explained like this to people that complain about teacher carrying guns at a school, they would get a better understanding. In a sense it would not be any different than a Police Officer be in a school as a resource officer. But, that’s just my opinion.

  5. indianasteve

    Thinking that teachers will go out of their way to obtain the necessary training is naive. A few would, most wouldn’t. And then the number that would continue training after the initial training is even less. If you have an incident with a shooter in the school, and you have a hundred armed staff running around in panic mode, it is going to be difficult to know who the bad guy is. When LEO gets there it will be even more confusing. I feel that I should have a say in whether staff should be armed if my child is in that school.

    I would feel better about arming the staff if it was done in a highly coordinated way. Limit the number of armed staff. Demand training, both initial and ongoing. Have background checks to determine the staff competency and mental fitness. Form a “squad” that trains together. Have a communications system and plan, and train with that system. Include local LEO in planning, training, and communications. Then maybe I will consider.

    There are many steps that can and should be taken before we just start placing guns amidst our children. Most schools do not even restrict access to the building or campus. That should be the very first step. Do that, then come talk to me again.

  6. Robert

    The one thing no one is talking about is “Liability “! As a retired LOA liability is a very big deal if you have teachers carrying a gun in school and they take action and possible kill or injure an innocent not involved with the shooter at all. Who is then “Liable” for the injury or death of that innocent person or person’s? The teacher, school, who? This is America so you know a law suit will be made for that dead or injured person so who pays for it? The trial, the payout (if any). Same as if you have a conceal carry in your state and you take action to protect yourself and kill or injure another person you think it’s going to just be “oh I’m sorry but I was defending myself”? No, they are going to sue you for all they can get. So teachers with guns in school who is going to accept the “Liability” when something goes wrong? I think teacher with guns is a bad idea they don’t get paid nearly enough to teach now you want them to be part time officers? In Parkland the week before the shooting the school didn’t have copy paper but we have money to supply guns and training to teachers? Again when something goes wrong who is going to be liable?

  7. Michael

    I have some issues with this issue. First, you stated that teachers would go the extra mile to get further training and nothing is more far from the truth. As a NRA instructor, I argued the same point with the NRA. They claim the same as you do. But that is not the case. Most people do the minimal amount, ie the basic pistol course, to get their CCW and do not go onto the other classes despite enjoying the first class. This is disturbing. Second, if you have teacher A armed and not teacher B armed and a mass shooter presents in teacher B’s room, teacher A may leave their flock to go assist leaving others unprotected. Big problem. As a parent, I would then request my child be in a classroom with an armed teacher. Setting up more problems. I suggest that their be a central entry to a school and highly train a guard for that door. The standard would have to exceed LE training as their gun skills generally are lacking and most of them do not seek out further training also. Also, an aid on the playground should be of the same caliber. Parents who pass the training may also serve in these positions. Just some thoughts.

    • Marshall

      Appreciate your point of view, but I respectfully disagree. I am a father, teacher and coach. I am also an avid shooter and carry concealed everywhere I go….. except work. I’m not going to say that I know exactly how I’d react in an active shooter situation, but I’d sure like the means to try and stop it. I wish we lived in a utopia where there aren’t bad guys to do bad things, but we don’t.

  8. Trevor

    Although I am not advocating, necessarily, for “arming” teachers or not, I don’t think it is fair to label the approach as “nonsensical.” It seems to work fine for Israel.

  9. Jim

    Schools should not be “gun free zones”. First, remove that stupid law. That automatically takes the question of whether or not a teacher may be armed out out of the equation. Whether or not a teacher is armed is up to the individual teacher and no one needs to know about it or approve it. The whole issue of whether a teacher may be armed is discrimination against that person. Also, while we’re being sensible, remove the constraint on all properties owned or used by the government that are open to the public.

  10. Scott

    I feel I as a parent should be able to carry wherever my children are. To deny me that denies my ability to protect them. I should not be denied the right to carry on school campuses.

    • Michael

      Who is stopping you from doing so? A sign? If you conceal really well there is no worry. I carry my gun on school property every time I am there. It is easier to ask for forgiveness than be dead and not able to.

      • JONATHON

        Michael, In Wisconsin, as in some other states, “gun free zones”, as in schools and other places that are designated by signage, are a “point of law”, which technically makes it an offense to enter into that “protected zone”. You can be arrested and charged by carrying into these places. It makes it imperative to know your state and local laws concerning these areas. Yes, there is headway being made into these areas being changed to allow for lawful, permitted carry but, know your laws. There are, however, some of us, legally and permitted CCW carriers, that tend to err on the side of personal defense, security and the right and commitment to protect our communities, that disregard these “zones”. We take that chance for our own concerns and the defense of our communities. If you are carrying concealed, properly, no one should know that you are carrying in the first place. Please know your laws and base your conclusions and convictions accordingly. Stay safe!

  11. Mark Scott

    While I agree with your main premise here, who has said we will make teachers carry guns – or that certain teachers will be “designated” to carry? I have not heard that anywhere. You’re other points are spot on.

  12. Richard Lyons

    As a retired teacher and a RSO, I know that arming 90% of the teachers would end up with problems if they were expected to carry a firearm in the classroom. The other 10% could work it out with training. Deputizing a few administrators with training would be better. It is a felon if you are within 1000 feet of a public school property unless you are a police officer. Teachers should take firearms safety classes with an option to go to a firing rang for experience.

  13. John

    There are already private schools in my community where teachers carry, and that seems to work fine. For public schools, just because you can carry off the job, doesn’t mean your employer needs to allow you to carry. In between negligent discharge issues and a marginal increase in suicides, there is a lot of potential bad press and it isn’t clear that there would be a net safety benefit. Also, one unintended consequence could be subjecting immature kids to felony prosecutions for “assaulting an LEO” if they do something as simple as shove a teacher. Not condoning kids doing that, at all, but there are a lot of student-teacher interactions that can be addressed without calling the police, and there are people attracted to teaching because of the power it already gives them over kids. Realistically I don’t see teachers simply being allowed to carry as private citizens, which brings us to inadequate “official” training and LEO status.

    • Jim

      Wow! Well, we certainly don’t want to risk potential bad press by allowing a trained, competent volunteer teacher to stand on the wall between an active shooter and his/her helpless charges. Given the incredible heroism of some of these unarmed teachers trying to protect the kids, I just don’t understand why a dead teacher with a bunch of dead kids is somehow morally superior to a live teacher standing over a dead shooter with live kids behind them. This is not something anyone suggests be forced on any teacher, but armed teachers have stopped these shootings (Pearl, Mississippi for one) and a competent volunteer is just that. And what does an active shooter situation have to do with someone shoving a teacher? The teachers are not LEO’s. Sorry, but this whole thing just tries to twist the intent of allowing defense of self and protection of others. Why do you think it seems to work fine in private schools but would be less effective in public schools, which seems to be where these attacks occur?

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