U.S. Department of Education Considers Buying Guns for Teachers

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U.S. Department of Education Considers Buying Guns for Teachers
U.S. Department of Education Considers Buying Guns for Teachers

Fayetteville, AR –-(Ammoland.com)- The U.S. Department of Education is considering a program to buy guns for teachers. This is not a statement that I ever imagined that I could make until recently, but such are the times in which we live.

These times do not include an increase in school shootings, it’s important to note. The impression that media headlines give us to the contrary, the risk of being shot at school now is about a fifth of what it was in the 1990s. The research is also slim on the question of whether media celebration—and there’s no other word that describes the coverage so well—of mass shootings inspires more of them, though that is at least a possibility.

It’s still early days with regard to the proposal, though there is a lot to think carefully about before a good decision could be made.

For one thing, while I am certainly a supporter of the right to carry firearms in public, a right that I exercise myself, I have to acknowledge that elementary and secondary schools present challenges that must be attended to. Teachers on those levels are acting in loco parentis, creating levels of responsibility that most of us don’t have. The straw man version of arming teachers presented by gun control advocates—guns being handed out to all takers with no questions asked—is a bad idea. If we are going to give guns to school employees, that program should include training in how to deal with an active shooter situation when the armed good people are obliged to defend others, rather than focusing on getting themselves out as expeditiously as possible.

But when we are spending public funds, there are also the questions of priorities and of evidence that must be taken into account. Given the Trump administration’s proposed cut of 13.5 percent of federal education spending in the 2018 budget, it’s worth asking whether we have the money for this latest program and what won’t get paid for as a result. Now if the argument is that we should end all federal funding of education, that is a different question. But if we are going to spend some money to promote education, there is a finite pie and not everyone gets a piece of the same size.

And then there’s the point about evidence. Claims, for example, about Israeli teachers being armed fall apart upon checking, and while it’s not clear how many teachers in America are carrying legally, the percentage of total educational staff throughout the country is small. The data set at the moment is insufficient to make broad claims.

This goes both ways, of course. Conclusive evidence that armed teachers would be a disaster is also lacking. The data on concealed carry license holders generally and how often we commit violent crimes are thin, but the State of Texas provides a good case study. The Department of Public Safety there publishes conviction rates of the state’s population and of people who are licensed to carry yearly. The latter category comes in at a fraction of one percent year by year. This suggests to me that letting some teachers who are willing to go through the process of getting licensed and trained in the specifics of school shootings would not be outrageous to try.

For the moment, let’s allow such teachers to arm themselves on their own. We can even let them use training programs as a part of their annual continuing education requirements. And then we’ll see what happens. Given the record of carry license holders, this is not a wild proposal. It also isn’t a leap to one answer without evidence.

The exercise of a right does not equate automatically to having that right funded by the government—the latter requires evidence that it’s a good idea. Let’s get the evidence for or against arming teachers and then we can decide where to go from there.


About Greg CampGreg Camp

Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.

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    Roy D.Don BaileyWild BillBudDavid Recent comment authors
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    Roy D.
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    Roy D.

    My city school system just hired seven armed security personnel to augment the school resource officers. I used to work with several of them and hopefully their presence alone will deter bad actors.

    Bud
    Guest
    Bud

    I don’t know about the “intelligence” part, but they simply can’t get there fast enough. Responce time where I live has been said to be as long as 12-15 minutes. No disrespect but police can’t protect you. They can only show up after your dead. Stay alert. Stay armed. Practice.

    Roy D.
    Guest
    Roy D.

    If the government wants to spend money on this then let it provide vouchers to the teachers for firearm courses given by reputable instructors. This voucher would also include ammo which would be issued by the instructor so to maintain some accountability. And I am talking about local instructors not someone halfway across the country and within a reasonable price range for the region. Having them qualify on a random basis would be a good thing too. As far as the students not knowing who is carrying, that would not last very long in the typical school. Just some thoughts.

    Bud
    Guest
    Bud

    Good thoughts.

    David
    Guest
    David

    Love the idea of a teacher making the decision to properly train and carry if they so choose and can pass all necessary tests and qualifications. DO NOT like the idea of the Dept. of Education being given yet another reason to stock up on firearms. Let the teacher buy. Not the state, please!

    samuel jones
    Guest
    samuel jones

    In Texas, each local school board can decide on whether that district’s teachers may carry in school. However, in addition to the Texas LTC (License to Carry), teachers must also complete another specific course – designed for their profession. While there are quite a few school districts that have opted for arming teachers, the preponderance have not. One fact that may have a great influence on the possibility of a school shooting – if a district does allow teachers to carry – the publicity of this fact could be , in my opinion, the best deterrent.
    Sam
    Texas LTC INstructor

    Matt in Oklahoma
    Guest
    Matt in Oklahoma

    You don’t want DOE controlling this

    Don Bailey
    Guest
    Don Bailey

    I fully support the concept of armed educators on the campus, but at the same time, I believe that those individuals be required to have additional vetting along with the training that would go with the continuous active shooter training curriculum. However, I do not believe that local, state, or federal funding should be used for arming these educators who choose to be armed. The reason is because I do not believe the government can select a pistol as the standard for everyone’s use.

    Bud
    Guest
    Bud

    As a retired Texas teacher I will tell you, that when you get hired you have been throughly vetted. Additional vetting would serve little purpose.

    Don Bailey
    Guest
    Don Bailey

    @Bud, Thank you for teaching our youth, but your experience in the class room does not mean that you(as an example only) are ideally suited to carry a firearm on your person everyday while you are on campus. Not every educator is willing or has the capacity to successfully complete the training and then willingness to use the firearm when needed to. Yes, additional vetting is necessary.

    stevie
    Guest
    stevie

    Assuming you fear giving a weapon to a teacher because of shaky mental health, I would also then question their ability to teach, and ability to be responsible around CHILDREN!

    So if we fear just giving out weapons to protect students, to people who are around these children all day, and have such a huge possible influence upon them, then we may need to do something about THAT!

    Andy Buckmichael
    Guest
    Andy Buckmichael

    Properly trained teachers would be the best protection for the children in this country. Local law enforcement does not have the intelligence to do the job.

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @AB, If you would have stopped after the first sentence, you would have gained a little measure of respect.