Gun reform has been on the political agenda for decades, with both sides of the political spectrum playing tug-of-war over different legislation. In the past year, however, a potential solution has been proposed to the problem of school shootings: arming teachers.
While the idea may seem completely crazy, arming teachers would be the most logical and financially sound solution to prevent gun violence in schools.
The United States recorded at least 154 mass shootings in the first half of 2018, matching the number of shootings in all of 2017, according to The Sun.
Several of these tragedies—including many school shootings—have gained national attention via extensive media coverage and protests. Most of these protests have encouraged people to push for political action to prevent further mass shootings.
President Donald Trump has responded to school shootings by suggesting teachers should be armed. Trump and his like-minded allies claim that placing guns in the hands of teachers is the best way to prevent further gun violence in schools.
There is a huge partisan split on the issue, with 68 percent of Republicans favoring it and 82 percent of Democrats opposing it, according to NPR.
Many of those in opposition believe trained security guards and school resource officers should be the only people carrying guns in schools. While this is an understandable view, the options for armed protection are limited due to financial constraints and issues with feasibility.
Specifically, there are three directions the U.S. could go to protect schools from mass shootings.
First and most costly would be hiring armed private security or contracting local law enforcement for a school resource officer. SROs provide armed security for an annual $100,000 to $250,000. Unfortunately, many districts don’t have that sort of financial luxury.
Second, for a lesser cost but requiring more organizational effort, schools could draw in retired law enforcement officers, veterans or qualified parents. After training, they could serve as armed volunteers focused on school security.
The third option would involve teachers volunteer to be trained on carrying concealed firearms while working. Compared to paying for a new employee or seeking out outside volunteers, this would be the least expensive and easiest option to manage.
The mainstream media, as well as Trump himself, have made it seem as though arming teachers would be by force. Instead, arming teachers suggests finding proficient gun owners and allowing them to carry a concealed firearm after undergoing special training for a school setting on a volunteer basis. These trainings are inexpensive and, in many cases, free.
School and mass shootings will never end completely until society gets to the root of the very complex and multifaceted issue. The issue isn’t the guns themselves, but the people in possession of them.
Troubled kids and victims of an outdated and ineffective mental health system are permitted to buy lethal weapons. This could be reevaluated instead of the guns themselves.
In turn, taking a closer look at who is allowed to be in the proximity of guns raises the question of whether teachers with minimal training can be trusted to operate this equipment.
It would no doubt be a risk, yet, teachers are the people entrusted to care for children everyday. Giving them guns, the tools necessary to protect kids in these troubled times, would only further their ability to do their jobs.
Arming teachers would be valuable, especially in areas that can’t afford higher priced armed protection.
Allowing trained faculty to carry concealed firearms is the best short-term solution available right now. Hopefully arguments about gun control and school shootings will become a thing of the past, but for now, it is a serious reality. Every day, executives, business owners and lawyers exercise the option to defend themselves as well as their colleagues; with the right training, teachers should be able to as well.