Op-Ed

PRO: Arming teachers will protect students

Guns at school? Here’s what NC’s teachers had to say.

The mass shooting at a Parkland high school has reignited the debate about arming teachers at schools. Our Elon University/News & Observer/Charlotte Observer poll shows North Carolina teachers think that's a bad idea.
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The mass shooting at a Parkland high school has reignited the debate about arming teachers at schools. Our Elon University/News & Observer/Charlotte Observer poll shows North Carolina teachers think that's a bad idea.

When we look at school shootings, it becomes clear that there is one common element: The perpetrators attack schools because they are easy targets. They know schools are a large gathering of innocent bystanders in a confined space and there are very few – if any – armed people present to defend the students.

While there has been a tremendous amount of heated rhetoric regarding the School Security Act of 2019, the fact is that this proposed law would make North Carolina schools safer for teachers and students alike.

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A fourth-grade teacher receives firearms training with a .357 magnum during concealed weapons training. Rick Bowmer AP

First of all, it is important to clear up some of the things this bill would not do. Contrary to what many who are opposed to it have been saying, it will not give teachers free rein to carry weapons in schools, and it will not unnecessarily put students in danger.

What SB 192 would do is allow willing teachers to undergo an annual security training, which would teach them to safely carry a firearm and — although we all pray it will never be necessary — use it in an active shooter situation. After completing this training, these “teacher resource officers” would receive a 5% salary boost and be permitted to carry concealed weapons in schools.

Students would not be able to see or be frightened by the firearms, and we hope that they will never need to be used. However, if tragedy strikes and a deranged criminal chooses to open fire on innocent and vulnerable children, these willing teachers will have the necessary training and tools to protect them.

Responsibly armed Americans are a crucial aspect of deterring criminals and stopping shooters in their tracks, and this legislation will simply reverse the status quo and give teachers the tools they need to defend themselves and their classrooms.

Some have raised objections, saying that teachers are not qualified to carry weapons, especially in the presence of children. However, this argument misrepresents what SB 192 would actually do. If a teacher does not believe that they can safely carry a concealed weapon, there is a simple answer: They don’t carry one. Those who do choose to become certified teacher resource officers will undergo basic police training and learn how to safely carry a concealed weapon to ensure no children are ever put in harm’s way.

We can all agree that, if there is anything we can do to potentially save just one student’s life or stop another tragic mass school-shooting, we should come together to do it. In an emergency situation, seconds matter, and a well-trained, responsible gun owner can save lives in an active-shooter situation.

Most of all, a criminal is less likely to go after a population that can and will defend itself. We need these responsible citizens to be the first line of defense and should allocate appropriate resources to ensure they are ready and able to protect our children.

A number of school districts across the country in states like Colorado, South Dakota, and Texas are already allowing trained school officials with concealed carry permits to bring their personal firearm to campus in an effort to ramp up school security. In fact, the Florida investigative panel charged with studying the tragic mass shooting atMarjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. recommended allowing teachers with concealed carry permits to arm themselves. This recommendation has largely been ignored both by politicians and the national media.

All North Carolinians should come together and advance solutions that can help put a stop to these senseless, violent tragedies. Allowing responsible teachers to volunteer to be trained in to safely carry concealed weapons is one constructive idea, and we should all welcome any others.

Tim Schmidt is the president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, and may be contacted at Press@USCCA.com.

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