After Sandy Hook: Over 1,300 Teachers Trained to Stop Active Killers
COLUMBUS, OH - Five years ago, a 20-year-old murdered his mother, stole her guns, and went to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut to slaughter 6 staff and 20 young children. It was a horrific event that forever changed the concept of what school security means in the modern world.
Gun control groups called for new gun laws. However, because none of the proposed laws would have stopped this event, and because new laws have never proven effective at stopping determined killers, one nonprofit organization chose to take a different approach.
"I remember an ABC News town hall in Columbus, Ohio," said Jim Irvine, Chairman of Buckeye Firearms Foundation. "Gun control advocates kept talking about having a so-called 'national conversation' about school safety. It was so frustrating because we'd been having a conversation for years and nothing had changed.
"So in the middle of the town hall we said we were done talking. It was time for action. We announced a program to train teachers and other school staff to carry guns in schools so they would be ready to stop active killers quickly. There were literally gasps from the audience."
The announcement was met with widespread disbelief and criticism, including editorials claiming that no school would ever participate and no teacher could possibly be interested. But when the organization contacted Ohio schools offering to train 24 teachers, more than 1,000 applied.
With support from private donations, that original class grew into what is today called the FASTER Saves Lives program. Created by concerned parents, law enforcement, and nationally-recognized safety and medical experts, FASTER Saves Lives is a groundbreaking, nonprofit program that gives educators practical violence response training, including emergency medical care.
To date, more than 1,300 teachers and staff from 225 districts across 12 states have received training, including educators in 76 of Ohio's 88 counties. Up to 400 additional educators are set to go through training in 2018.
"After five years, attitudes have changed dramatically," continued Irvine. "School boards, members of law enforcement, and the media often start off skeptical. But after they attend a class and see for themselves the high quality of instruction and how the program has adapted proven ideas from real world active killer events for the school environment, they realize FASTER Saves Lives is the best and most effective solution available."
According to Irvine, demand for the classes from Ohio schools, and overwhelming interest from other states, greatly exceeds the funding provided by Buckeye Firearms Foundation. The organization recently received a grant from the State of Ohio for $100,000 per year for 2018 and 2019.
Buckeye Firearms Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity and serves as the sister organization of Buckeye Firearms Association, a grassroots group dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation.