As mass shootings make their rounds in the news, the conversation about gun control is on everyone’s minds. However, basic education in firearm safety often is not. Legislators and lobbyists run themselves ragged writing bills they think will pass. It is a game of Democrats and Republicans playing tug-of-war with the repealing and reinstatement of gun laws. It takes over TV and radio with shouty gun-nuts and weepy children. Commentators and journalists often forget the measures and laws to prevent shootings already exist. They forget the main issues contributing to gun violence are poverty and ineffective law enforcement. We will never solve these root issues because the politicians voting on them know little about poverty and law enforcement, and less about firearms. Continue reading “Education in Firearm Safety Will Limit Gun Violence”
By Jack Shields | United States
This week Judge Beth Bloom ruled the police at the Parkland school shooting had no duty to protect the students. The idea that children won’t be adequately protected in the United States of America during a school shooting is horrifying and needs to be solved immediately. The most obvious way to remedy this issue is to arm the teachers. The usual response when someone has proposed this idea or advocated for self-defense has been to treat it as an insane and unthinkable proposal. Ben Carson was mocked during the 2016 presidential campaign for claiming that kids should charge the shooter when he enters the room, and President Trump was torn apart when advocating giving the teachers firearms. While those in opposition are in the majority with 73% of teachers opposing guns in school, it is clear their logic is incorrect and we must arm teachers if we wish to protect students.
Why Not Police?
The first argument given against this is we should just rely on the police who are trained for this. If the judge’s ruling was not enough to disenchant you of this notion, there are many other reasons this is a terrible strategy. First, as many other pro-gun advocates have noted: when seconds matter the police are minutes away. The average school shooting is twelve minutes and thirty seconds. The average police response time to a school shooting is eighteen minutes. The police may be the best-trained there are and may have saved everyone, but they simply were not there. Sometimes you have to depend on localized solutions. You would never tell someone not to learn CPR because a trained doctor would do it better. Doctors won’t always be there.
Second, the police aren’t always good at their job. Just recently, a Texas police officer was convicted for murdering a teenager. David French of the National Review has reported on the murder of Botham Shem Jean by Officer Amber Guyger and many other similar cases. I don’t say this to disparage cops or say they’re always terrible at their jobs. The vast majority are great people putting their lives on the line for us every day and deserve a great deal of gratitude and respect. But they are human too, and that makes them prone to mistakes and prone to have a few bad apples in the mix. In the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting, the police were there but instead of going in and doing their jobs, they waited outside like cowards as children were murdered. We can’t always depend on them, and this decision proves that.
Do Guards Work?
The next reason the opposition brings up is that the armed teacher will likely be useless or even dangerous in a school shooting. This is also proven clearly untrue upon examination of self-defense statistics and the impact armed guards have already had on schools. While the cowards were hiding outside during the Parkland Shooting, football coach Aaron Feis died shielding his students. Fewer lives would have been lost if Coach Feis was armed.
Take, for example, the Great Mills High School Shooting in Maryland, which occurred just a month after the Parkland Shooting. It’s likely you haven’t heard as much about this shooting as the Parkland Shooting. That’s because the Resource Officer – a good guy with a gun – shot the shooter within seconds. The success of guns and self-defense also holds true in everyday life. According to a CDC study carried out under President Obama (no friend of gun rights), Americans use guns to defend themselves 500,000 to 3 million times a year, and when guns were used by the victim they consistently had fewer injuries than victims who were unarmed.
Self-defense works and those on the opposition are starting to realize this but in the most bizarre way possible. In Pennsylvania, Blue Mountain School District decided to give the kids a bucket of rocks to stone the shooter. Millcreek School District went a different an idea that could only have been conceived after watching Negan on The Walking Dead: giving the teachers mini-baseball bats to fight the shooter. Rather than beat around the bush, we should realize it’s clear that we need a way to defend children in schools and guns are the best way to do it.
Couldn’t Teacher be Dangerous?
Opponents will then claim that not all teachers should have guns and that if a teacher had a gun he or she might shoot a student. For the first point, it’s actually true not all teachers should have a gun. This is consistent with the stance of advocates for arming teachers. Obviously, not all teachers should have a gun, and none should be compelled to. They would have to go through training and know how to use it in a school shooting situation if they want to have one, which is more than reasonable and can be easily achieved. And the idea that a teacher will shoot us for talking or misbehaving is insane. Teachers are not lunatics who are sitting there craving to hurt kids, just waiting until we change the laws so they can do so. By this same logic gun-owning parents all over the country should be shooting their kids anytime they misbehave. No reasonable or moral person does this.
It also seems odd they bring this hypothetical up as a risk unique to this proposal. The possibility of this happening (albeit essentially zero) already exists in the status quo. Teachers have to pass background checks to be teachers, making the vast majority able to get a gun. Teachers have passes to get into the school whenever they please. And teachers are with the children in a room by themselves. If a crazy teacher was evil enough to want to shoot a kid they could do it already. The only thing that would change by allowing teachers to have guns is there would be a good teacher to stop them.
What if a Student Got a Gun?
The last claim made is an inverse of the third: claiming that bad students who are physically more powerful than them will overpower them, take the gun and use it on the teachers and the students. This is perhaps the laziest of their arguments and is actually addressed best by comedian Bill Burr. In one of his comedy specials, he mentions that when he told people he wanted to get a gun they informed him that your chances of getting shot increase as soon as there’s a gun in the house. He responded by telling them your chances of drowning went up when you get a pool.
Possessing any tool gives you the ability to misuse it. That’s why the teachers will be responsible citizens and have the training to prevent such situations from occurring. There are efficient ways to make sure the guns are safely stored and that kids won’t be able to take them. Your English teacher won’t be spinning a pistol in her hand and using a rifle as a back scratcher during class. And the possibility of this happening already exists.
My school and countless others have a resource officer on campus. He has a gun. By the logic of those in opposition, shouldn’t there be lots of misbehaving children attempting to get his gun? They don’t, because we have been taught not to. I live in a house with guns, and I’ve known where they are for most of my life. But I don’t try to take them and use them even when I’m in a bad mood because I’ve been taught that guns are a dangerous tool and should be treated as such. There’s no reason to think that this would change if teachers had guns.
Those in opposition may believe what they are doing is protecting children, but the facts disprove this. We need to protect our children, and the tactic of keeping guns as far away from the hands of good people in schools just isn’t doing it. We need an instant response in our schools that is deadly and effective when someone comes in wishing to harm children. We need to be able to count on localized solutions for when everything else fails. We need to arm teachers and give children the security necessary to ensure their protection.
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