Are schools safer when we arm teachers?

Rugged individualism, the need to self-protect, the ability to act: these are so central to American life, they are protected in our constitution, which we take very, very seriously.

And, we just went through a national tragedy. I wake up every day and my heart breaks for Parkland, Florida. And it soars when I hear the Parkland teens channel their grief into action. But we should always consider the data.

Let’s take a look.

We need to arm teachers to protect our students.

The need to protect ourselves is written into the constitution.

Gun owners are empowered by the second amendment, and the courts have been very reluctant to place too many restrictions on it.

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

“Militia” refers to private citizens who came together to protect their community. Their right to bear arms was seen as a check on the power of the government.

Gun rights supporters believe this extends to (or refers to) an individual’s right to own firearms; gun control advocates may believe this right is limited to those individuals that band together.

Gun-Free School Zone Act

The purpose of this Act is to get guns out and away from our schools, still the scope is greatly reduced by several exceptions, most notably: gun permit holders are not bound by the Act, unless the state passes its own legislation.


When we’re afraid, we often want a way to protect ourselves.

And, the NY Times reports statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health that suggest a staggering 18% of Americans experience anxiety disorder in any given year.

and other emotions, like anger and protectiveness

I’m going to break stride with the usual debater format by including a personal note with the purpose of illustrating the emotional side of the issue, which I believe to be a huge component for the pro-gun advocates.

My thoughts:

I would take down anyone who was trying to hurt a kid. Swear. Put me anywhere near violence-against-our-youth, and I’m not watching anyone go down without jumping in. For reference: I’m 5’4, 125 pounds, a former teacher with zero training in anything other than how to encourage divergent thinking in children.

I bet there are TONS of people that feel the same way, that—in a moment of danger—we would react with great tenacity. My point is: I understand the emotion behind owning a gun, and learning to use it, in order to protect children. I’m not a gun owner—heck, I can’t even operate a corkscrew—but you get my point.

BUT, we should always, always, always check the data, right? Because sometimes our emotions aren’t the best basis for developing policy.

Schools are not safer when teachers carry guns.

a U.S. problem goes unaddressed

By not working toward tighter controls on guns, we’re ignoring the data that shows U.S. gun violence is uniquely disproportional to our GDP.

We have way more gun deaths than other developed nations, and far more guns than any other country in the world. For example, the US has nearly 6 times the gun homicide rate of Canada, more than 7 times that of Sweden, and nearly 16 times that of Germany. In fact, it has a higher gun homicide rate than 13 other countries with similar GDPs.

And, the number of privately-owned guns in the US was 88.8 guns per 100 people. Another way of considering this: we have less than 5 percent of the world’s population and yet own 42 percent of the world’s guns (by private citizens).

Check out these gun violence statistics.

sitting ducks

It has been suggested that “gun-free zones” create sitting ducks of our students because they attract mass shooters. Yet almost 90% of gun massacres since 1966 have taken place where guns were allowed or there was armed guard present.

it’s a lot harder to be effective with a gun under stress

Trained law enforcement officials, on average, hit their intended target with about 20% of their shots.

Shooting accurately and making quick, appropriate judgments about when and how to shoot in a stressful moment requires lots of training and the ability to manage stress.


Back to the News Made Simple article here.

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