Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Arming Our Teachers

UPDATE: On Oct. 13, Utah teachers were given the option of taking a free concealed-handgun course during the UEA holiday. Now that's some time well-spent.

In the wake of the horrible Amish school shootings, President Bush held a
school safety summit in Maryland today to discuss solutions to reduce school violence. President Bush, Mrs. Bush, the U.S. Attorney General, and the Secretary of Education addressed the conference. Some of the ideas proposed were to put in local law enforcement officials to patrol and educate the student, to expand programs where teachers monitor potential problem students, and lots of feel-good mumbo-jumbo about "character education" and making student "feel safe." There is not one mention of allowing teachers to carry concealed guns in the Fox News story, although it might have been discussed.

NEWSFLASH!! Not one of the above solution, except increasing police presence on campuses will prevent an outsider from coming into a school and shooting the students. Increased security will help, but a lot of schools don't have the resources for metal detectors and police dogs. Plus, I'm sure the kids would rather not feel like they are in a prison. Right now, a lot of our students are sitting ducks because everyone knows that no one, except for one or two security officers, is armed. States that have enacted gun-free zones in the hopes of reducing gun violence have instead made school free-kill zones for any armed lunatic that happens to walk in.

I read a great piece at National Review Online by
Dave Kopel on this topic. In t he article, along with discussing other preventively measures, he points out the benefits of allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons and training teachers and students in self-defense. He held up my home state of Utah as a example of doing things right:

Like many states, Utah enacted a concealed-handgun licensing law in 1995. Unlike most states, Utah did not make schools an exclusion zone for lawful carrying. Not only a teacher on duty, but also a parent coming to pick up a child from school, can lawfully carry a concealed handgun in a Utah school building after, of course, passing a background check and safety training. In 2003, the legislature expanded the law, by allowing principals to authorize firearms possession by individuals who did not have a concealed-handgun carry permit.)

After eleven years of experience in Utah, we now have exactly zero reported problems of concealed handgun licensees misusing guns at school, or students stealing guns from teachers, or teachers using their licensed firearms to shoot or threaten students. During this same period, we also have had exactly zero mass murders in Utah schools.

My proposal, however, is not that other states go as far as Utah. Rather, I simply suggest that teachers and other school employees be allowed to carry if they obtain a handgun carry permit. If a school wants to require special additional training for school carry, that's fine.

Sounds good to me. If I was a teacher, I would definitely want to be armed, both to protect myself and my students. I can't understand all the NEA-type teachers that think guns are icky and barbaric. Guns have been used numerous times to defend teachers and students. Kopel lists several examples of these cases--1997 in Pearl, MS; and also in 1997 in Edinboro, PA.

Unfortunately, the Amish are a peaceful people that probably will never want to arm their teachers, even after the murder of their children. Possibly, they could hire a police officer to protect them. But the rest of us need to take our children's safety more seriously. We can't wait for the SWAT team to come rescue our kids when some nut with a weapon comes into their school. We should support laws that allow our teachers to be armed, and demand programs that will train our teachers in self-defense and crisis management. Our kids are counting on us.

No comments: