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Arming Teachers in Schools

Students lie face down in a classroom during a mock drill in a local high school in a low-income neighbourhood in Ciudad Juarez

I spoke to Sen. LaRose about the issue of arming teachers. He explained that while he supports the right to concealed carry and is a concealed carry permit holder himself, it’s a different matter to have a policy that encourages teachers, as a part of their “official duty,” to carry firearms:

It’s not that I’m against it or crusading against teachers having the ability to defend themselves in the local school district if the teachers in question want to make that decision, but as far as a thoughtful conversation about how to make our schools safer in a macro sense, when we pass legislation that pertains to the whole state, there are a lot of other things we can look at that are a lot more effective than this notion.

He said that based on the consensus of the experts they heard from in the Senate hearings, things like building security, improving police response time, teacher training, anti-bullying programs, and mental health screenings would all be better ways to make schools safer.

Asked how a teacher with a concealed firearm in a school was different than a teacher walking down Main Street with a concealed firearm, LaRose again cited the stress of an active shooter situation.

I’ve been trained to make life or death, split-second decisions, as we used to call it in a tactical scenario, the "shoot and don’t shoot" scenarios. That’s a weighty decision and people spend their entire careers training to prepare for those kind of decisions. In a highly sensitive environment like a school where you’ve got hundreds and in some cases thousands of young children — which as far as I’m concerned are the most precious and vulnerable members of our society — they deserve all the protection we can try to muster for them.

LaRose doesn’t think teachers should be expected to make decisions like that when “mistakes can be made.”

He reiterated that he didn’t want a statewide mandate “that resulted in more teachers being armed” and preferred to focus on other solutions.

A recent article at PJM fairly debunked the myth that teachers pose more of a risk than other armed citizens, concluding that,

Involving the government in the application of a fundamental human right never enhances freedom or safety... 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.

Lutz thinks that schools are more dangerous because of the overly sensitive gun bans:

I think it’s proving itself over and over again, the most dangerous place to be in these shootings is a gun-free zone.  It’s a wrong-headed notion of what’s going to protect our children. They’re taking it to the point where it’s actually endangered our children as opposed to kept them safe. They are a target because there’s no deterrent. If someone wants to target children they know they are going into that situation in safety, so to speak, because they’re going to know no one’s armed.