Everywhere you turn, the cultural conscience is bent toward the topic of arming teachers. Proponents state that doing so will offer an extra line of defense against the catastrophe of active shooters. The old adage rings true: When seconds count, the police can be several minutes away. Meanwhile, opponents provide the opinion that the last thing America’s gun problem needs is more guns.
So what’s the solution?
According to a 2018 Gallup Panel survey of 497 K-12 teachers, an overwhelming majority neither want to go armed nor feel that arming staff members will provide a safer workplace. In fact, 58 percent of respondents feel that arming teachers would make schools less safe.
As a counterpoint, the advent of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 (proposed by Senator Joe Biden and ratified by President George Bush, Sr.) ushered in a sharp increase in both school shootings and student fatalities. According to a contemporary journal, more people have been killed or injured in mass school shootings since 1990 than in the entire 20th century [Antonis Katsiyannis, Denise K. Whitford and Robin Parks Ennis, “Historical Examination of United States Intentional Mass School Shootings in the 20th and 21st Centuries: Implications for Students, Schools, and Society,” Journal of Child and Family Studies, 2018].
Additional Pressure on Ailing Education Budgets
Another point bandied about by the gun-control crowd is that arming and training teachers (or designated security staff, for that matter) would put an unbearable burden on already flagging school budgets. Funds would have to be diverted from other programs, and local taxes could potentially rise. They also mention the liability schools would face in the event of a tragic accident. But where is the liability in perpetuating a zone wherein everyone but the shooter is defenseless?
Personally, I don’t think it’s teachers’ jobs to provide armed security for students — especially when they already have so much on their plates. Arming teachers should definitely not be a condition of employment.
The Power of Personal Responsibility
However, I do believe that personal liberty is the right of every American, as is, obviously, the right to bear arms. If teachers and staff who choose to go armed wish to do so in the workplace — concealed carrying on their own dime for training, licensing (where applicable) and hardware — lawmakers should not only allow, but applaud, such gestures.
After all, there are more than just student lives on the line. Teachers have the right to defend themselves too.
*Note: To date, 65 percent of respondents in our recent USCCA Community poll felt the same way I do about teachers carrying concealed firearms in the classroom. See the complete poll results and join the discussion today: https://community.usconcealedcarry.com/t/should-teachers-be-armed/7085.