Should schools arm teachers with guns to protect kids?
October 2, 2018
Yes, they should.
Lately, in the mainstream media, discussion of gun control and safety of the general public is a concern. Conservative speakers suggest that schools would be much safer if teachers are allowed to to carry firearms at school in order to protect students in case they find themselves in a situation where there is an active shooter on campus.
The idea of arming teachers on campus is very complicated. It is not like “Here is your gun, have fun.” Of course, the government would provide mental health assessments that would determine if the teacher is sane enough to handle a weapon around minors, and they would receive NRA firearm training to be properly prepared in case such skills were ever necessary to put into practice. Where an active shooter or threat is on campus, teachers would be trained to deal with the situation, as well as to use the type of firearm that the government would provide to the teacher as well (most likely a .40 caliber handgun like the police use).
Where would we get the funding? The federal government or state would initially pay around $100,000 for firearms, firearm training for a day, and a mental assessment as well; for about 50 teachers and in the following years around $50,000. Or on the other hand, we could spend federal aid ranging around $20-50 million for each school shooting.
Our more liberal thinking friends believe if we arm teachers, maybe the teachers would have mental illnesses and turn on and shoot the students. However, we have mental assessments and background checks for a reason.
But what if we have a gun-free zone sign that would prevent people from entering in with guns? Then we wouldn’t need to arm teachers. Well, when was the last time you saw a school shooter saying, “Oh man, the sign says ‘gun free zone.’ …guess I can’t shoot anymore.” In that case it has never happened.
But what if we just have more gun control and suppress gun ownership? Well, people are able to find ways to either manufacture homemade weapons at home or be able to obtain a firearm illegally from somewhere else.
America has a mental health issue as well as a corruption issue, guns are to be the least of our problems.
No, they shouldn’t.
Recently, President Donald Trump called for 40% of a school’s staff to be armed and trained. However, teachers should not be armed at school. There are several primary reasons for this. First and foremost is the enormous cost of such a program. Second is the negative effect on teachers and their primary job. Finally, it would not be an effective measure.
Training these teachers to be skilled enough to correctly use a gun in a hostage school shooter situation, not to mention arming them, would cost money that could be used to improve school infrastructure or benefit education in other ways. Some argue that many teachers already know how to use a gun, or own a gun. But this casual experience is not enough to qualify a teacher to shoot in a crowded environment. If 40% of the school staff was armed with weapons paid for by the state, this would put an extra burden on taxpayers. There are 3.1 million teachers in the US. A cheap 9mm handgun can cost $500. This adds up to a ridiculous sum of at least 620 million dollars. The training of teachers would be even more expensive. If weapons are not provided by the state, there is less control over what guns our teachers can potentially keep in their classrooms. In addition, during a school shooting the administration would have no knowledge of who was armed and who wasn’t.
Teachers want to teach. Teachers are not soldiers; they should not have to kill as part of their job. However, if teachers were armed, it would become an element of the profession. Would trained and armed staff be paid extra, or be more likely to be selected for a job offer? People with training are more valuable because they cost less so it seems reasonable for them to receive additional money because they are already trained. If a teacher has a moral issue with using a gun, would they be passed over for job offers, or paid less, because they were less valuable? It is quite possible that the teachers that were passed over were better teachers than the ones who were armed. Because school shooting will happen to few schools, teachers should be primarily focused on properly educating students.
Teachers may not have the courage to hunt down a school shooter. It is likely that teachers who have no experience getting shot at would not be able to stay calm. No amount of training could eliminate this issue. Experience under fire is necessary to gain control. But since school shootings are so rare, it would be extremely unlikely for a teacher or school to have to deal with a shooting more than once.
We cannot let the emotional desire to do something cloud our judgement. We must proceed with caution, and not just implement a plan because something is better than nothing. There are other steps we can take to keep the kids in schools across the country safe other than having teachers carry a firearm. Arming teachers would be an expensive, ineffective waste of time and money.