Here’s why I support arming our teachers

We recently held a free Level 1 class for any interested teachers and administrators in my son’s school.  Currently, CHP holders in Colorado can NOT carry in schools.  But our interest was in giving back to those who work so tirelessly educating our children, as well as promoting responsible gun ownership in our community.  Besides, if through some act of God, those teachers are allowed to carry a gun in school at any point, I’d rather them get that training from me.

Since this will devolve into a “gun-free zone” discussion, I’ll start by talking about some real situations and some actual facts:

  • Gun-free zones are, by definition, those areas where it is currently illegal (with some very small, well-defined exceptions) to carry guns – at all.  It’s my understanding that active duty law enforcement may have global exceptions to these laws, but that’s about it.
  • “With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.” (from John Lott, link here)
  • The rate of school shootings is NOT increasing.  The high-point for school shootings in this country was 1929.  “Incidents of mass murder in the U.S. declined from 42 in the 1990s to 26 in the first decade of this century.”
  • The nutjob in Aurora passed up multiple theaters in order to pick one more clearly identified as a gun-free zone.  He did NOT pick the theater closest to where he lived or one closest to where he was going to be that day.
  • Some states like Utah and some districts in Texas, allow teachers to carry guns.  There have been NO gun-related incidents in those places, certainly no mass shootings.
  • Just ask Suzanna Hupp how she feels about gun-free zones:
  • Murder is a crime, punishable in some places by death (including here in Colorado).
  • Having a gun in a gun-free zone is also a crime.  In some places, like schools in Colorado, the penalty for violating that can be a felony.
  • James Holmes is currently facing 140 criminal charges, including 24 counts of murder (12 for 1st degree murder, 12 for 2nd degree murder).  Clearly, he was not deterred by the existence of any laws.  Also, the DA announced this week that they’re seeking the death penalty for him (good!!).
  • There are those who believe, apparently, that when facing 140 criminal charges, several of which are potentially punishable by death, a sick person is completely undeterred; but wow, you add that standard-capacity magazine misdemeanor onto the list for that magical 141st charge, and he’d suddenly stop and change his mind.  Like Uncle Ted says “How insane do you have to be, to believe crap like that?”
  • According to the US Supreme Court, in a case that came out of the town where I live, the police have no legal obligation to save your life.
  • Would an armed citizen have been able to stop James Holmes that day in Aurora?  We’ll never know.  But if this guy can stop a mass shooting with a bar stool, I like my odds a heckova lot better with a handgun than just hunkering down and hoping he misses from point-blank range.  By the way, that is one of my all-time favorite self-defense stories.
  • The vast majority of the victims at Virginia Tech were killed before anyone started fighting back.  It takes most everyone some time to process what’s happening, but like any NFL defensive coordinator will tell you, if you make them change their plan, your odds of success go way up.
  • An overwhelming majority of mass-shooting events ended when the bad guy was confronted with deadly force and then ended his own life.  Including this guy in the shopping mall in Portland last year – and the good guy there didn’t even fire a shot.
  • For some reason, most people are absolutely ok with the idea of having uniformed police officers in their kids’ school.  But the thought of a civilian with a gun is outrageous.  Why?  Law enforcement gets some very good training, no doubt, but what if the civilian training were just as good or better?
  • Gun-free zones don’t work.

Let me turn this around for one second.  Hypothetically, if you believed that people should be unarmed, let me ask you this: should our police officers have guns?  Yes?  Should police officers be allowed to have those guns in schools?  Yes?  Why do you think they carry guns?  Is it to protect you?  Or to protect themselves?  So if our police officers’ lives are worth defending, why aren’t civilians worth protecting?

Why are police allowed to carry a gun in a school, yet I can’t?  Oh, it’s the extra training they get… I see.  I agree with that training.  I’m in the firearms training industry, duh.  But hypothetically, what if civilians were trained to the same levels or above that of the average police officer?  Then would you support civilians having guns in school?  Then here’s an idea: instead of arguing about who is allowed to have guns in schools (because you’ve already agreed that some people, the police, are fine with guns in schools since they don’t run around shooting kids for fun… interestingly, please name me the last time a lawful concealed carry permit holder ran around shooting kids… you can’t – the good guys aren’t the problem here) why don’t we just focus on the training required?

I personally scored 300-out-of-300 on the police PPC Timed Pistol Qualification course a couple years ago – and I did it with a Springfield XD Subcompact, in 40 S&W, with the 3-inch barrel.  I’m looking at the certificate on my wall now.  Why don’t we make that test the standard in order to carry your gun in a school?  For most departments, I think the passing score is 70% or 210-out-of-300.  So by your own standards, why not just take those and apply them to civilians?  If the argument is about the training that the police receive, excellent – we have a starting point.  Let’s identify exactly what training the police receives, then make that the civilian requirement.  Would that make you feel better?

Physical security in places like schools is an absolute necessity.  You need good locks, some sort of buzz-in type of entryway, tall fences, ideally even a lobby that is isolated from the rest of the school.  If Nutjob X gets into the lobby wearing a ski mask and holding 4 guns, hopefully he’s limited to only the lobby.  So we can work on those things, and I’ll support additions like that all day long.  The price of such systems can be overwhelming for many schools, but the age we live in requires it.

But isn’t it at least worth asking the question “why are all these incidents happening in gun-free zones?”  What do you think would happen if we removed the gun-free zone moniker from schools?

Crazy exists.  It just does.  That said, a gun in the hands of a properly trained individual dramatically increases the odds of minimizing damage.  Take the incident at the Appalachian School of Law, for example.  Good guys stopped a bad situation from being much, much worse.  Or the New Life Church shooting (stopped by a civilian with a concealed handgun).

There are certainly a lot of variables when it comes to using a gun inside a school to stop a bad guy.  But our teachers are up for the job.  Our kids certainly deserve a fighting chance.

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