Guns for Teachers? Bad Idea


Picture by Sierra Gutierrez


By Sierra Gutierrez, Staff Writer

Last week, in the wake of the Parkland school shooting, some friends and I were discussing exactly what we would do if something similar were to happen on our own campus – an event that seems more likely to occur every time we turn on the news. We talked about possible defense tactics: barricading the door, making a run for it, or arming ourselves with staplers and fire hydrants. As the conversation progressed, we soon came to realize that there wasn’t really much we could do in such a situation except sit and wait for it to end. Later, however, part of President Trump’s speech seemingly provided another option: allowing trained teachers to carry concealed firearms on school campuses.

Within this proposition, President Trump proposed that about ten to twenty percent of teachers would carry concealed weapons in case of a situation where they are necessary were to occur. He explained that a benefit of this plan would be its unpredictability. He elaborated on this point during his CPAC speech: “So this crazy man — when he walks in — wouldn’t even know who it is that has it… and the teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened.”

What Trump proposed is a dangerous increase in the presence of deadly weapons on school grounds that would contribute to an even more feared and paranoid atmosphere around our schools.
The biggest and most obvious reason for this is simple. Even though some educators may be willing to put their lives on the line for their pupils, teachers are not police officers. As Quartz Hill English teacher Mr. Jenison puts it, “I wouldn’t be opposed if someone asked me to carry a weapon to protect my students, but I’m not sure that teachers as a group are capable of handling that responsibility.”

Despite potential training available for teachers who choose to seek out the ability to carry on campus, whatever time they put into achieving proficiency with a gun would be nothing compared to what is needed to protect against an active shooter. They do not undergo the constant physical and psychological training that real law enforcement officers are required to go through in order to prepare them for a situation where they must fire at a dangerous individual. Even then, law enforcement officers often make mistakes, with many of their failures resulting in the deaths of innocent people. Basically, an educator with only a few months of training cannot be trusted to assess a risk with which highly qualified officers struggle.

Secondly, as a student, knowing that there may be armed teachers at my school would not make me feel safer — and many others agree. “I trust pretty much all of my teachers,” says freshman Jordan Gutierrez, “but, there are some weird people out there; Some people I would not want to have a gun.” According to President Trump, only carefully trained and approved teachers would be allowed to carry concealed weapons, but from a student’s point of view, the prospect of not knowing if some crazy old math teacher has a handgun can be very disquieting.

In the end, it is highly unlikely that the permission of concealed guns for teachers will become a reality in this country. Unless the training required was tantamount to that of a police officer, a teacher who happened to be carrying a gun may not actually be useful in an emergency situation, and, in times of peace, would serve only to place more stress on students and parents who already fear the presence of guns in our schools.