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Santa Fe Shooting: Deploying Conceal and Carry License Holders Is Not Enough to Protect Schools

America sees yet another public school massacre, and another round of finger-pointing begins. Rather than debating the gun-control-vs-Second-Amendment debate and why so much of this violence is taking place (perhaps discussed in a future article), I thought I would address another issue brought up by President Trump after the Parkland massacre on February 14 this year.

The president, in a meeting with parents and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, stated his support for teachers with CCW (carrying concealed weapon) licenses to carry pistols on them to school to defend students and staff at public schools. Part of the reasoning behind this is the saying, "when seconds count, the police arrive in minutes." I love the police and support them, but they cannot be everywhere at once.

Personally, I think that having armed teachers or staff members would be a good stop-gap solution if ... if the following steps are taken. One part of a long-term security solution would be more trained police in each school, but since that is certainly a more expensive option, arming civilians might work.

Having CCW licensees packing a sidearm in a school comes with several problems. Simply put, the average CCW holder does not have the training or experience to accurately shoot a moving target who is possibly firing back (the active shooter) without accidentally hitting an innocent person. Heck, even with all the training police officers go through, there is still the possibility that the officer could hit an innocent person (the police officers I know freely admit that).

I am a CCW instructor in the state of Ohio. I train people throughout the year. The requirements to become eligible for the license are to pass written tests in basic gun knowledge, safety, and accuracy in hitting paper targets on the range. I make applicants hit targets at distances of 10 feet, 15 feet, and 20 feet. It takes eight hours of instruction to qualify for the Ohio CCW (two hours of it on the range). The Ohio CCW license basically only "proves" that you know how various pistols operate, you can hit targets (that are not shooting back or moving), and you probably (hopefully) will not shoot yourself in the foot.

It is an introductory step to shooting. Plenty of people go on from there to become very, very proficient in accurately shooting moving targets. Many CCW holders are former military and police officers, and I would definitely put my life in their hands. Others are simply content to get the license, buy a gun, put it in a drawer somewhere and never practice. As I tell my students all the time, "You will not rise to the occasion. You will fall back on your training. You will fight like you train."