Guns in School? Two Perspectives on a Highly Charged Issue

by Laura Carno and Deborah Gordon Klehr

Concealed Carry Teachers
Concealed Carry Teachers
Laura Carno
Laura Carno

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- There are few topics as divisive among administrators, parents and communities as the prospect of firearms in the classroom. As more states consider allowing staff to be armed, we present two perspectives.

Laura Carno is the founder and executive director of FasterColorado.com, an organization that provides firearms training to school staff who are authorized as armed first responders. Deborah Gordon Klehr is the executive director of the Education Law Center in Pennsylvania.

CARNO: Staff must be the first responders

As acts of school violence continue to make the news, many districts are making the decision to have armed staff on their campus. Rural schools have been early adopters, as law enforcement response could be up to 45 minutes away. And many school staff members in rural areas are already concealed-carry holders, so carrying a firearm is typical.

Even those who are uncomfortable with armed staff tend to understand the question facing rural schools: What are the options when law enforcement isn’t an option?

Rural school staffers are increasingly becoming their own first responders. But in urban or suburban schools, there is also a case to be made for armed staff, even where there is a school resource officer.

On average, one person is shot every 17 seconds during mass shooting events. If your SRO is at the other end of the campus when the shooting starts, how many 17-second intervals will pass while that officer sprints toward the scene?

I don’t know a parent who wouldn’t want that shooter stopped before they take a single life.

There is no district that requires anyone to be armed. Schools that have decided to arm staff ask for volunteers, who then are required to undergo significant training. Districts find there are more than enough volunteers who have experience with firearms and happily raise their hands for this important responsibility.

Language differs by state, but most schools have a contract with the staff member that adds “security officer” to their job description for an additional $1 per school year. When the safety of students is on the line, school administrators are right to consider all options, including training and arming staff.

KLEHR: Drills and preparation make students safer

Everyone wants our schools to be safe places for students and educators. But legislation that permits school personnel to carry concealed firearms in public schools is a dangerous step in the wrong direction. It would make students less safe and would threaten to turn our schools into free-fire zones.

There isn't one credible national, state or local organization that supports the idea of giving school personnel permission to carry concealed guns on school property. Indeed, National School Safety and Security Services, a consulting firm, advises against arming teachers and school staff.

Bringing guns into our schools increases the risk of serious injury or even death if a gun is mishandled and is mistakenly discharged. Children are far more likely to be injured by self-inflicted gunshot wounds or in an accidental shooting resulting from another person’s handling of an improperly stored or unsecured firearm.

The specter of tragedy loomed over an incident in an elementary school last year, when a teacher mistakenly left an armed pistol in her school’s bathroom. At least four children used the bathroom during the three hours the gun was left unattended atop a toilet. Any one of them could have picked up the gun and caused it to discharge—with tragic results.

Improperly stored guns are also at risk of being stolen, and insurance rates have risen for schools that allow personnel to arm themselves.

In managing the threat of fires, schools don’t equip teachers with axes, helmets, boots and fire engines. Instead, they hold frequent fire drills to prepare students and staff to quickly and safely evacuate a building during a similar situation. Schools should hold shelter-in-place and other drills to confront the threat posed by a violent attack.

About Laura Carno

Laura Carno is the founder and executive director of FasterColorado.com, an organization that provides firearms training to school staff who are authorized as armed first responders. Deborah Gordon Klehr is the executive director of the Education Law Center in Pennsylvania.

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    georgeJoeGregJDLPete Raciti Recent comment authors
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    Joe
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    Joe

    As a firearms instructor I encounter many people who are not equipped or prepared to posses, carry or use a firearm in a defense of self or other situation. Included in this group are teachers, doctors, police officers, citizens, soldiers, etc. But then there are many who are committed to protecting their own lives, and the lives of others against persons wishing to deprive them of the same. Sometimes the difference between the two groups is mindset, training, and the decision not to become a random victim. It is hard for me to understand why one group should be able… Read more »

    JDL
    Guest
    JDL

    Just a note, Laura.

    Besides not having a magazine insertrd, your lead photo shows a gun being carried without a holster wbich is NOT simething a responsible concealed carry license holder would do. You would be better served to utilize a better photo in the future.

    Pete Raciti
    Guest
    Pete Raciti

    Both arguments have merit, no one wants their school attacked, and no one would want a negligent discharge ringing in the halls of their school. So, what are we to do? We can no longer plausibly deny that “it won’t happen here”! The threat from an active attacker is real, and happens more than we care to hear about. What if there was a system that could deter the attacker? What if there was a system that could shorten the bad guys rampage time? You see where I’m going here…. there is s system that does both, and more. If… Read more »

    Tionico
    Guest
    Tionico

    The specter of tragedy loomed over an incident in an elementary school last year, when a teacher mistakenly left an armed pistol in her school’s bathroom. At least four children used the bathroom during the three hours the gun was left unattended atop a toilet. Any one of them could have picked up the gun and caused it to discharge—with tragic results. Hmmm.. maybe I’m just a iggoraymus, but I’ve never heard of an “armed pistol”….. oh well. So someone left their handgun in the loo.. naughty naughty. Perhaps the FACT that at least four students were in there and… Read more »

    george
    Guest
    george

    No boots(I always wore cowboy boots) or helmets, but when I was in school they had a fire ax and fire hose behind glass and we knew only to use these in case of emergency. that’s what I remember as a school student, that didn’t seem to reduce the need for fireman. You can always make false arguments against firearms if you have a propensity toward distrusting firearms or an individuals ablity to make sane decisions.

    Jim Macklin
    Guest
    Jim Macklin

    Every public school teacher IS background checked already. All should be smart enough to learn how to safely handle firearms. All teachers are trained in basic psychology as part of teacher training. If the teachers are not safe to be with your children while armed your children are not safe with that teacher. Identification of a threat is the biggest problem for a police officer arriving on an active crime scene. It is not likely to be a 7 year old, 46 inch tall child shooting the teachers and other students. But how does an officer know which 68 inch… Read more »

    Tim Cox
    Guest
    Tim Cox

    I thought that in Israel the teachers were armed or they have armed security at schools, seems I read that they have never had a incident at public schools, I may be wrong, but of course the left doesn’t think Israel is a credible nation.

    JohnBored
    Guest
    JohnBored

    The arming of staff members should not be dismissed out of hand. Of course any armed staff member should have additional training and screening before being armed in class. The article refers to the National School Safety and Security Services Firm as being against arming school staff members. What is their agenda? Do they want to contract with schools to put in private security (rent a cops). School staff members are vetted individuals who are committed to the safety and security of their students. Regarding the teacher who left a firearm in the rest room for 3 hours, that teacher… Read more »

    JS
    Guest
    JS

    Our children are being taught to run and hide in the event of a problem and we are building a nation of hiders and criers. What made America great was individuals stepping up to whatever challenge was facing them, including getting in harms way.This is the same message being taught in Britain, France, Australia and other countries, run and hide. It is weak and pathetic.

    Tionico
    Guest
    Tionico

    thats why at our colleges, the supposed “next step” for school kids on their way to “adulthood”, they have their trigger warnings, hiding places, safe spaces, pressure free zones, and, by merely screaming, stomping their widdow foots, and throwing things, these “university students” can ensure they don’t have to fear the words of “certain people” coming onto campus to speak to only those interested in hearing them…. because the widdow snowfwakes scare the administration into cancelling the speeches. Yup, we’re raising a nation of pants-wetting crybaby coddled little monsters. Little Breeze and Pansy used to be “so cute” when they”d… Read more »

    Wild Bill
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    Wild Bill

    @ Deborah Gordon Klehr, you write, ” It would make students less safe and would threaten to turn our schools into free-fire zones.” So you not only know how all students in Colorado feel, but also future students, too. You are a goddess!
    Oh, have you ever been to a free fire zone or are you just making another half baked prediction for the purpose of deceiving people?

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    Oh, and Deboara, They don’t need permission to carry. They already have the God given, pre-political, Constitution enumerated, natural RIGHT to bear firearms on their person, open or concealed, where ever they go.

    T J
    Guest
    T J

    “There isn’t one credible national, state or local organization that supports the idea of giving school personnel permission to carry concealed guns on school property.” Deborah Gordon Klehr

    Ms. Kler, I have a question: Do you
    not automatically discount any and every organization that supports the idea of “giving school personnel permission to carry concealed guns…” Your statement is empty of meaning.

    vab
    Guest
    vab

    Let’s see now…the best way for a gazelle to defend itself from the lion is to have its horns and hooves removed. Hmmm….something just doesn’t quite seem right about that course of action.

    JoeUSooner
    Guest
    JoeUSooner

    Terrific analogy! Thank you.

    Chiefton
    Guest
    Chiefton

    “In managing the threat of fires, schools don’t equip teachers with axes, helmets, boots and fire engines.” No, but they do have fire extinguishers that are available to use to stop an immediate and potentially dangerous fire from expanding into a disaster.

    Greg
    Guest
    Greg

    Well, that just ruined her analogy! Nice!

    Adam
    Guest
    Adam

    “There isn’t one credible national, state or local organization that supports the idea of giving school personnel permission to carry concealed guns on school property.”

    Some great literary sleight-of-hand from the leftists at the ELC. Perhaps they could elaborate on who gets to define “credible” in this context, what criteria they use.

    Tionico
    Guest
    Tionico

    Go and examine what the State of Ohio have done in precisely this regard: State law now authorises ALL school districts to form a policy to allow selected sindividuals who already work at the schools to take state approved training (which is intense and extensive, likely the best civiliain firearms training out there anywhere) and then, upon further scrutiny, to carry their own personal defense weapons anywhere on the school property at any time. No one knows who participates in the programme excpet possibly a few top admin at the school level. NONE of the other teachers, staff, students know… Read more »