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Teachers should be able to carry

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Teachers should be able to carry

Kaitlyn Moore

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The amount of school shootings that have happened so far this year is horrendous. Places where children go to learn and grow as people should be free from fear of injury and death, and my heart goes out to all of the students, teachers, families, and communities affected by them.

Let me start by saying that I personally am not a huge fan of firearms of any sort. I am small, easily startled by loud noises, and not very strong. Firearms are incredibly intimidating to me.

But I believe teachers should be able to carry a concealed handgun on school grounds.

I think as a society, we keep asking ourselves and each other why this keeps happening, but I think we need to change the questions we ask.

Why is it that gun free zones experience the most gun violence?

Because they are just defenseless targets. That is why shooters go after schools. There are few preventative processes involved with school shootings. Dress codes are more heavily regulated and enforced than more serious, actually life threatening issues like drugs or weapons, but that is partially due to the fact that they’re so much easier to enforce.

I believe the solution is to make it easier to enforce. There are more than 3,000 regulations on guns already but criminals and mass shooters do not care at all about them. One of the ways we can make it easier to enforce is allowing teachers concealed carry handguns.

I am not saying make every teacher carry. I respect those who do not want to handle a firearm, I do not really like them myself. What I am saying is let those who want to do so.

On February 26, the Pike County school board in Kentucky voted to let teachers conceal carry on school grounds. They did it on a volunteer basis, where school employees would be subject to background and drug tests, mental evaluations, qualification courses and free firearms training lead by the sheriff’s office, and re-qualify four times a year to continue as a guard.

March 3, over 800 Utah school teachers and administrators went to a free conceal carry class in Sandy with 60 instructors.

The key here is training and oversight. I have seen and heard so many people complaining about how these teachers were going to be “so safe” because they took a “weekend workshop” on gun safety and use.

Do the research. Many firearm training courses in Ohio only last three days, some for one, but they are small, 10-person, hands-on intensive training classes that last all day and are taught by ex-military instructors. People are trained to continue training on their own.

As for Ohio law enforcement, their qualification course of fire has no set amount of training required, as long as officers pass the test at the end of the class. Other states have different standards, some better and some worse, but already the Ohio civilian conceal carry courses are doing better training wise than our own law enforcement.

Sure, teachers should not need to carry a weapon in a place of learning. A kid could take it and hurt people with it. But is that not the entire point of a conceal carry? So nobody knows you have it?

Why is it a problem if a teacher carries a concealed, loaded handgun? There are several holsters made with retention devices specifically to prevent anyone, kids especially, from taking the handgun: police officers use them all the time and they’re widely available to citizens and not all that expensive.

There are actually holsters with four levels of release, so untrained and inexperienced people – again, children specifically – have an abysmal chance of getting the handgun out of the holster and firing it. When trained how to use it, it takes less than a second to draw the weapon, another second to turn off the safety and aim with the proper handhold. Safariland makes these holsters.

Other options include quick access biometric safes in the desk, which again, are not that expensive. Expense, by the way, is an entirely different issue that schools have needed to deal with for several years, so saying “who is going to pay for these concealed weapons” is a bit of a moot point.

There is also the argument that an armed staff member could confuse law enforcement. I argue that if the law enforcement is confused by the situation, then they are not doing their jobs.

When the police show up, drop the firearm or put it away immediately. That is standard operating procedure when dealing with the law enforcement, which conceal carry classes teach and train people to do. Besides, it is not all that difficult to put the gun away when the police show up if you’ve done nothing wrong, and the shooter most likely will not put their gun away when they see police.

I think other solutions such as fire extinguishers in every classroom will do more harm than good. In such a small area like a classroom, especially in an elementary or middle school, and even in a small hallway, the teacher is likely to hit every single person with the fumes trying to subdue the shooter.

Also, I do not see picking it up and bashing an attacker over the head with it working either. I don’t think people realize exactly how heavy a fire extinguisher is: even the small ones weigh 40 pounds. Most teachers are female, and people suggest they should be able to blind, suffocate, and knock out someone in an enclosed area with something that heavy when a shooter can kill them in the time it would take to prep the fire extinguisher? And who is to say the attacker would not be prepared and wear a gas mask, like the 2012 Aurora theater shooting in Colorado?

Bottom line, teachers need to first get the children to safety and hide them. They can guard the children with their conceal carry. The can shoot to stop like they were trained, not to wound, which means shooting directly in the chest instead of the head or the foot. The chest is the center of mass, the place that moves the least. When the law enforcement shows up, comply.

There will need to be a lot of oversight and a lot of proper training. The Devil is in the details. There are things that need to be made available and to be understood clearly and I could go on forever, but I think this is the best solution we have.

Police use guns to stop bad guys with guns, so why shouldn’t volunteer teachers who want to protect their students be able to do the same thing?

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