Should school teachers be armed?
CQ Researcher plans an upcoming feature on armed teachers, asking the question, "Should school teachers be armed?" I was asked to write 400 words for the pro side of the argument. Here is what I submitted.
Arming teachers and school staff sounds radical to some people, but it's a simple and effective option. Objections spring from ignorance about the reality of mass murder and the role teachers can play to stop it. Consider common misconceptions:
Teachers don't want firearms training to stop school shooters. Some don't. But many do. When FASTER Saves Lives announced a class for 24 Ohio teachers, more than 1,000 applied. Over the last 5 years, 1,300 have attended training in 225 school districts across 12 states, including 76 of Ohio's 88 counties, with 2,000 more on a waiting list.
Teachers aren't trained as well as police. Actually, many police officers have no active killer training at all. And general firearms training represents only a tiny fraction of what they learn at the academy. FASTER provides teachers with 27 hours of intensive active killer training. Even with no training, teachers who volunteer to carry at school tend to be those who carry in their private lives and have a lifetime of firearms experience.
Teachers carrying a concealed handgun destroy the learning environment. How? In Ohio, more than 650,000 people, one of every 14 adults, are licensed to carry a handgun and do so in restaurants, malls, public parks, and nearly everywhere else without anyone even noticing. Why would a school be any different?
At least 14 states already allow teachers to carry at school. Another 16 give local school boards the authority to approve school carry. In Texas and Utah, teachers and staff have been carrying guns for more than a decade.
The issue really isn't about guns. It's about TIME. The more time a killer has, the more people die. Based on past mass shootings, on average there are 12-16 deaths if you wait for police to arrive, but only 2-3 if someone confronts the killer immediately. Mass murderers aren't looking for a fight; they're looking for a slaughter. Teachers don't have to be Rambo to stop them. In almost every case, an aggressive challenge can stop the killing quickly.
Forget the politics and be honest. If it's YOUR kid at school when the slaughter starts, would you rather have armed teachers there, or would you prefer everyone were defenseless, helplessly waiting 5, 10, 15 minutes or more for police to show up and stop the killer before he aims his gun at your kid? Look your child in the eyes when your answer that question.
Dean Rieck is Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, a former competitive shooter, NRA Patron Member, #1 NRA Recruiter for 2013, business owner and partner with Second Call Defense.