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It’s Time to Let Capable Teachers Defend Their Students

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With the rise of attention on school gun violence, there has been a number of solutions put forward toward preventing shootings on campus.

Perhaps the most argued solution is to arm teachers, which is actually not a proper description of the concept. A better phrasing would be to say teachers could have the option to volunteer to go through proper training and carry a weapon, as “arming teachers” suggests they would be required to carry a gun as part of their job — regardless of their skill with a weapon.

Nobody should expect an unwilling teacher to carry a weapon, and nobody would want a teacher who doesn’t fully understand how to use a weapon to be armed. However, there is a balance that must be reached.

The first consideration is whether or not a teacher has the appropriate background to carry a gun, which the answer is presumably going to state that they do. Teachers go through extensive background checks already, and are not offered the position if they have a history of criminal behavior or mental illness. The fact is that someone who is allowed to be around children has to be capable of teaching them not only the classroom lessons, but also be prepared to mentor and be a role model. Someone who meets those requirements is almost always going to be capable of responsibly owning and carrying a gun.

In a perfect world, police would be able to arrive and stop a school shooting before anyone is injured. Unfortunately, in spite of an admirable police response time of five to eight minutes, most shooting take only three minutes to end. Because of that, police might be able to restore order and arrest the shooter, but the damage has already been done. A properly armed and trained teacher can respond to the shooting in real time and prevent the violence from escalating. Just as importantly, a shooter would be less likely to target a school knowing someone might shoot back.

A third consideration which is often overlooked is the positive influence and education provided by responsible gun ownership. Remember, thirty years ago teenagers owned guns, but school shootings were unheard of. Children were taught safe gun handling and responsibility at a young age, often beginning with a BB gun and then progressing to a youth-sized 20-gauge shotgun or .22LR to learn hunting skills. Children were aware of the usefulness of a gun as a tool rather than thinking of it primarily as a weapon. People might get into fistfights during or after school, and they would be appropriately punished and taught why such behavior is unacceptable, but they didn’t think to use guns to escalate the violence.

The bottom line is that guns can and do stop violence, that’s part of their purpose. And they don’t usually have to be fired. The mere presence of a gun is enough to stop most criminals, and the kind of person who would consider shooting children in school is also the type of coward who would be too scared to do so knowing teachers had guns.

~ Ready to Fire News


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