Armed Teachers: Riskier Than Other Armed Citizens?

In the 2010 Jose Guerena case in Tucson, an interagency SWAT team -- supposedly the best of the best and the most highly trained -- fired 71 rounds into Guerena’s home. They perforated his home from wall to wall and floor to ceiling, hit several nearby homes, and hit Guerena only 22 times despite shooting from only about 10 feet away. Guerena, a Marine veteran of two combat tours, awakened from a sound sleep by what he felt were criminal intruders breaking down his front door -- they did not have a no-knock warrant -- and wearing only underwear, hid his wife and son and took up a nearby AR-15 rifle. He never took the weapon off safe, and didn’t fire a single shot.

During the 2013 hunt for rogue ex-cop Christopher Dorner in California, several officers shot up, without provocation, two unarmed women delivering newspapers in a pickup truck that resembled the vehicle reportedly driven by Dorner only in being a pickup. Photographs of the pickup reveal as many as 30 bullet holes. Only the officers' terrible marksmanship allowed the women to survive without life-threatening injuries.

Stories of similar highly and consistently trained police officers are not hard to find. Citizens are not, in fact, uniquely dangerous.

Citizens use firearms successfully as often as 2.5 million times a year to protect their lives and the lives of others, usually without firing a shot. And when they do have to shoot, they often do so better than the police, as in the recent case of the Georgia woman that shot a burglar in her home five times, saving her life and the lives of her two children.

Teachers should not be required to be armed against their will -- but there is no shortage of the willing. At a recent free handgun class in North Texas, conceived by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle before his death, more than 700 teachers attended. They recognized the potential danger -- and their responsibility.

Teachers, like any other citizen, need only a limited number of very specific skills: the ability to safely handle their chosen handgun (commonly known as the manual of arms); knowledge of the laws governing deadly force and concealed carry; knowledge of the methods of concealed carry; and the ability to shoot straight. Concealed-carry licensing requirements for many states include all of this information, though some states do not, and those states do not suffer an increased level of mistaken shootings by citizens.

Anyone that regularly carries a concealed weapon absolutely should take advantage of as much competent training as they can obtain and afford. They should regularly practice with their handgun, in dry and live fire. They should continually work to develop and enhance their situational awareness -- their heightened awareness of the world around them. But all of this need not be costly or take enormous amounts of time, and it must not be a bar to carrying a handgun in the first place.

Involving the government in the application of a fundamental human right never enhances freedom or safety. Such involvement inevitably leads to “one size fits all” mandates, such as requiring only a single make and model of handgun -- greatly limiting concealability for many -- and establishing prohibitive time and cost barriers to the exercise of fundamental freedoms.  Teachers are more than intelligent enough to choose appropriate, effective, and concealable handguns, and to carry and use them properly. Millions of less-educated citizens do as much every day without expensive and time-consuming governmental mandates.

Krauser is correct in advocating good training, but the threat of school attacks never diminishes.  If we truly want to protect children, we can’t require unrealistic and unnecessary training, and we must take advantage of those in the best position to protect them: teachers.