Is 53 hours of training enough time for a person to become competent with a handgun in a highly stressful situation? Do teachers “have what it takes” to draw and fire on an armed perpetrator, possibly even a young teen they have known for years, or is that a task better left to trained police officers?
Parents in Arkansas are asking similar questions because their children’s teachers and school administrators will be “packing heat.” According to CBSNews.com on July 30, 2013;
Dougan is among more than 20 teachers, administrators and other school employees in this town who will carry concealed weapons throughout the school day, making use of a little-known Arkansas law that allows licensed, armed security guards on campus. After undergoing 53 hours of training, Dougan and other teachers at the school will be considered guards. (Full CBS article)
The dilemma facing many parents, school staff and school administrators is daunting. Schools are soft targets, not easily protected from armed assailants, and they are often filled to capacity with our most precious possessions…children. Many campuses are gun-free zones that prevent those with legally concealed firearms from carrying.
If a disturbed mind chooses to cause the most amount of damage possible, a gun-free zone would be the ideal place, and unfortunately we have seen the results too many times.
According to CBSNews.com on July 30, 2013;
“The plan we’ve been given in the past is, `Well, lock your doors, turn off your lights and hope for the best,”‘ Superintendent David Hopkins said. But as deadly incidents continued to happen in schools, he explained, the district decided, “That’s not a plan.” (Full CBS article)
Arming educators was by the NRA before the Columbine tragedy. Forbes.com explained why armed teachers may not be the “quick fix” that the NRA suggests;
The NRA’s main answer—arming our schools—didn’t work at Colombine High School, where two armed guards “were outgunned by the assault weapons wielded by the two teens” who attacked their school, said Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, a research and advocacy organization focused on gun-control. The two officers on hand fired at the shooters but were unable to slow or stop them. (Full Forbes article)
According to the National Education Association on January 15, 2013;
America’s educators resoundingly reject the notion of arming school employees. Only 22 percent of NEA members polled favor a proposal to allow teachers and other school employees to receive firearms training and allow them to carry firearms in schools, while 68 percent oppose this proposal (including 61 percent who strongly oppose it).
If the NEA poll is a strong picture of the attitude educators have toward possessing guns to protect their students, our children, then even if the NRA is successful in its mission to arm teachers…it seems that most educators, only one-in-five, would be willing to carry a gun anyway.
Those who are familiar with firearms and firearm-safety understand that it can take a great deal of time and practice to become competent with a firearm. Throw in the adrenaline rush a tragic situation can produce, and 53-hours of training can be an unsettling realization for the parents of children with a pistol-packing principal.