Should We Allow Teachers To Bring Guns To Class?
Having more firearms in schools could do more harm than good.
The views expressed in this Op-Ed do not necessarily reflect those of Loop 21.
The tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., Friday has left America teary-eyed as 27 people, including 20 children, were gunned down by an obviously troubled man. Unfortunately, this isn't the first, second or even third time a mass shooting has happened on a school campus in the last 42 years.
“In our communities today the bad guys have guns and the good guys obey the law, and sometimes because of our firearm laws us good guys are put in a compromising position,” she said in a statement. “That is not OK. I will not hesitate to protect myself with my handguns. If I have to make a choice between saving my children’s lives or my own life or letting a scum bag take our lives, I’ll choose to take the culprit out.”
In Texas, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) echoed Fiore's sentiments in a recent interview on Fox News. He said if teachers at Sandy Hook were armed with semi-automatic weapons, the massacre could have either been prevented or not been as deadly.
[Also Read: The Deadliest Mass Shootings Around The World]
"I wish to God [the principal] had had an M-4 in her office, locked up, so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids," he said.
Any idea that would lead to keeping gunmen from killing innocent people may sound like a good one, but putting another gun in the equation at schools could easily backfire.
A Mother Jones analysis on mass shootings released this past Saturday showed that in the 61 mass shootings in America over the last 30 years, "not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun...and in recent rampages in which armed civilians attempted to intervene, they not only failed to stop the shooter but also were gravely wounded or killed."
The same study also says that as more people are allowed to own guns, mass shootings increase and along with their body counts.
And what about the impact on school environments of arming teachers? The idea of police presence in schools is already a touchy subject with students and parents often complaining that doing so creates tension and an atmosphere of fear. Then there's the additional prospect of racial profiling with reports already showing that in schools with police presence, many Black and Latino students get targeted and arrested for minor infractions, leading them down the path of a criminal lifestyle.
Arming teachers is not necessarily economically practical either. Schools are already strapped for cash to the point that teachers are striking and complaining about having to work beyond their job description. Will school systems have the money to spend on weapons training for teachers? Surely, schools aren't just going to hand teachers guns and expect that they know what to do with them? Are they?
As the world continues to grieve over Sandy Hook, and America tries to figure out what do with its gun problem, plenty of suggestions are going to be made. But allowing more guns on school campuses isn't the only nor necessarily correct answer.