Several months after the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. in 2013, President Barack Obama poured millions of dollars into arming school officers throughout the nation — a move that coincided with the NRA’s call to arm the good guys.
“We won’t be able to stop every violent act, but if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events, we have a deep obligation — all of us — to try,” Obama said.
To that end, the Justice Department allocated $45 million to create 1,000 school resource officers who would be “specially trained” to work in schools and expand mental health personnel. This was only a drop in the bucket, of course, considering there are about 98,000 public schools in the United States. But, it sounded good.
“In the wake of past tragedies, it’s clear that we need to be willing to take all possible steps to ensure that our kids are safe when they go to school,” Attorney General Eric Holder said at the time. “Especially in a time of increased challenges and limited budgets, our top priority must always be the safety and well-being of our children.”
Obviously, their meager efforts didn’t work. Not the few armed guards Obama created for the schools — to the horror of the National PTA and teachers unions. Not the hundreds of new psychologists, counselors, and social workers who were supposedly deployed to the schools to help troubled kids not become psycho killers. Not the numerous civil rights strategies to stop bullying — especially against LGBT kids, a top, nearly monolithic priority for “school safety czar” Kevin Jennings.
What they never considered was allowing teachers and staff to exercise their Second Amendment rights to be armed or even creating a program to hire trained civilians who pass proper background checks to patrol school halls. This could compensate for the many teachers who don’t feel comfortable carrying a firearm, and there are probably plenty of men and women trained in firearms who would be willing to serve as part-time “patrol officers” in local schools to help keep our kids safe. Obama said we should try anything, right?
Of course, teachers unions — a hotbed of liberalism — are up in arms against the idea, especially arming teachers. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said, “adding more guns to schools may create an illusion of safety, but in reality it would make our classrooms less safe.” She argued that teachers and staff are obligated to ensure that “schools are safe sanctuaries and not armed fortresses.”
Yet, in 2013 when Obama was crafting his “school safety” plan, Weingarten was supportive of “bringing guns into the schools” at least by increasing the number of armed officers. This, she suggested, should be “decided on a school-by-school basis; it should be the decision of the school community and must be a part of a comprehensive school safety plan.”
Leave it up to the schools and local districts. What a stellar idea — bring sovereignty back to the people who are on the front lines. Let every school decide how it wants to protect its students, whether that’s allowing teachers to arm themselves, posting police officers, or hiring armed civilian patrols to walk the halls. If the schools decide they don’t want guns on their property, they can go that route and have nothing to stop a shooter like the one who killed 17 people in Florida.
But what about Weingarten’s claim that guns in schools make them less safe? There is simply no proof of this — quite the contrary. In 18 states, teachers and staff are already allowed to go to school armed. And guess what? There have been zero instances of a teacher or staff member shooting someone! Maybe we should take a look at how schools in these states are keeping their students safe and do as Obama said — try it!
Here’s a list of the 18 states as reported by NBC News in 2013.
Alabama (which bans possessing a weapon on school grounds only if the carrier has “intent to do bodily harm”)
California (with approval of the superintendent)
Connecticut (with approval of “school officials”)
Hawaii (no specific law)
Idaho (with school trustees’ approval)
Iowa (with “authorization”)
Kentucky (with school board approval)
Massachusetts (with approval of the school board or principal)
Mississippi (with school board approval)
Montana (with school trustees’ permission)
New Hampshire (ban applies only to pupils, not adults)
New Jersey (with approval from the school’s “governing officer”)
New York (with the school’s approval)
Oregon (with school board approval)
Rhode Island (with a state concealed weapons permit)
Texas (with the school’s permission)
Utah (with approval of the “responsible school administrator”)
Wyoming (as long as it’s not concealed)