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.

  • 19 thoughts on “Guns in School? Two Perspectives on a Highly Charged Issue

    1. 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 to deprive the other group of their free choice of group but that is what is happening here. “if a gun is mishandled and is mistakenly discharged. …from another person’s handling of an improperly stored or unsecured firearm….Improperly stored guns are also at risk of being stolen”. These kinds of situations are a result of incompetence, probably from lack of training. And, no I don’t want incompetent staff members being armed any more than I want them driving school buses. But once trained, they are no more or less likely to commit these errors than police officers. (In itself a scary thought.) A competent armed staff member would not miss-handle, leave unsecured, or discharge, a gun accidentally. But even if they did, when I balance that possibility against a lunatic loose in a school with LEO response 10, 20 or 30 or more minutes away the risk is still worth it. And even further, I want everybody to be safe, or as safe as they can be. As remote the odds I wear my seat belt, carry fire insurance, and carry a gun. I don’t see that my life, or yours, is any less valuable than a child’s. I don’t want to be innocent and defenseless any more than those children everybody is worried about. Oh, right, it is because they are defenseless that we worry about them. Well without my gun, so am I. How about worrying about me? Fat chance, that’s why I worry about myself, and my own.

    2. 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.

    3. 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 you are truly concerned about the threat to the safety of the children in your school, look up Templar Life Safety. They have products and training that goes far and above the rhetoric of throwing cans of soup at an attacker. A real solution, one that has been vetted, real products that will save lives.

    4. 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 did nothing with or to it might indicate the tyical meme that kids will ALWAYS do something stupid when they see a gun is just that… a meme, and a false one at that. Any one of them COULD have picked up…. but NONE did. Out of how many students at that school that day?

      SO, the safety training thse kids, on the whole, receive///WORKED.

      And I can tell you why the school safety organisation opposes armed staff in the schools…… their union would fight against armed staff at school because that means THEY, the organisation and its minions, would NOT be able to find work in school security because the armed staff would have that covered. Those union dweebs always know which side the bread the butter goes….. not stupd, they

      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.

      1. 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.

    5. 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 tall person, a stranger is a killer and which is a victim?
      A teacher knows the students and often the parents on sight. A stranger is identified and watched. A killer [ I hate the term “active shooter” because it is anti-gun propaganda] for aggression. Some killers dress in all black with web gear or camo but all depend on unarmed resistance.
      Many commit suicide at the first sign of effective resistance which does not exist in a school or any other place where possession of defensive weaponry is banned.
      Just the deterrent effect of announcing that teachers MAY BE armed increases security and safety. Just announcing that there is a Gun Free School Zone decfreases safety and security.

    6. 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.

    7. 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 should be held accountable–period. Also, referring armed, vetted, trained staff members as a “free fire zone” is ignorant and inflammatory.

    8. 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.

      1. 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 throw their temper tamtrums and throw spaghetti back when they were six years old. Now they’re twenty six, living in Mommie’s basement, no jobs, playing Ultimate Dooom all day, they set their pea brains against something and regress to their six year old ways of “getting MY way”.

        Now the rulers expect the teachers to behave the same way. Well, surprise, some of those teachers hold two values in VERY high esteem: first, THEY want to go home at night, just like the police do. Second, they want ALL their students to do the same. And they take those desires very personaly.

        Examine the short but signficant hiistory of FASTER in Ohio……

    9. @ 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?

      1. 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.

    10. “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.

    11. 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.

    12. “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.

    13. “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.

      1. 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 who is carrying or who is not. Al volunteer, costs the state nothing… Buckeye Firearms Association, a private non profit, put the programme together and got the government wheels to turn, approving it, then gathered the sponsorship. I guess that organisation is not “credible”. In my vies, EVERY state should have an organisation that god.. at minimum. I know of none other like it. The State lgeislature also supprts the idea, as THEY voted for it to be put into use. NRA also supports Ohio’s handling of the situation. The Ohio Police and SHeriff’s associatioins also support it.. though some opposed at first. More “credible” organisations.

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