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Let's save lives by putting more guns in the hands of teachers

Let's save lives by putting more guns in the hands of teachers
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The polls indicate that Americans support more gun control right now, but are also very skeptical that more gun control will reduce violence or mass public shootings. We typically see such increased support temporarily after mass public shootings. To win the debate, proponents of the right to self-defense must explain how their proposals are practical. They must explain how gun control actually makes people more vulnerable to attack.

Everyone wants to do something about mass public shootings. But while gun control advocates call for more gun control within an hour of attacks, such as the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, prominent Republicans and even the NRA often go completely silent in the week after the attack. Gun control advocates’ proposals may have the appearance of swift action, but ideas such as universal background checks really have nothing to do with stopping these attacks.

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The delayed response of the NRA and others lets gun control advocates claim: “Those who oppose reforms say nothing can be done.” Gun control advocates claim to be the only ones who care, and many Americans go along with the idea that further regulation is the only available option. After all, something must be done, and at least gun control advocates are trying to stop attacks.

 

Of course, the NRA has never claimed that nothing can be done. When NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre spoke out eight days after Parkland, he called for armed security officers in schools. The NRA’s National School Shield program has helped lead that effort. The Republican governor in Florida got legislation allocating half billion dollars a year to put one police officer in each public school.

Only President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Gillum and DeSantis’s first debate GOP warns economy will tank if Dems win Gorbachev calls Trump's withdrawal from arms treaty 'a mistake' MORE and a few other politicians went on the offensive, pushing the one option that would really make a difference — letting teachers and staff carry permitted, concealed handguns. These Republican understand that a lone officer in uniform faces an almost impossible job. Officers become the first targets in these attacks, as attackers know that if they kill the officer, they will have free reign to continue their massacre. Putting a guard in every school is also very costly.

Parents with children of K-12 age are surprisingly supportive of arming teachers. A Rasmussen survey after the Parkland shooting shows that 59 percent support President Trump’s proposal to give teachers monetary incentives to carry guns in school. The pushback comes from adults who don’t have students in school, with 54 percent of them opposing the idea.

Police are also strongly in favor of abolishing gun-free school zones. Shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, PoliceOne, a 450,000-member private organization of police (380,000 active, full-time and 70,000 retired officers), surveyed its members and found that 77 percent supported arming teachers and/or school staff. Eighty-six percent of the officers believed that casualties in mass public shootings would have been reduced or altogether prevented if legally-armed citizens had been able to carry guns.

Despite the President’s bully pulpit and this strong level of support, the mainstream media considers the idea of arming teachers to be out of the bounds of serious discussion.

But to varying degrees in 18 states, K-12 schools are already allowing teachers and staff to carry guns The fears of gun control advocates haven't been realized. Outside of a firearms training class, there has only ever been one accidental discharge of a gun by a these teachers or staff in any of these schools, occurring after-hours in a Utah school restroom. No one was shot. Furthermore, no teacher or staffer has ever lost control of his or her gun. No mass public shooting has ever occurred in a school that allows teachers and staff to carry.

According to police, sheriffs and prosecutors, there have been dozens of cases of concealed handgun permit holders stepping in and preventing mass public shootings. But in none of these cases have permit holders ever accidentally shot a bystander or themselves been mistakenly shot by responding officers.

Just wanting to pass more laws doesn’t mean that you “care.” It's not true that the only option is to pass more gun control. If we really want to do something, let's pass laws that would empower people to save lives.

John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D. is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author more recently of “The War on Guns” (Regnery, 2016).