Should School Personnel Be Armed?
Dr. John Woods 04.30.19
Right now, nobody knows the right answer, because mainly there is no best solution. Certainly there is no one rule that could apply to all schools much less all teachers. However, if done right with tremendous support, appropriate selection, personnel screening and plenty of hands on training, armed teachers and others in the schools could be one heck of a deterrent.
There was a compelling argument in a recent story against the idea. The author was a 31 year veteran of the FBI (the group that missed the screening of the shooter in Florida) as well as a firearms instructor for 23 years. He ought to know. Well, his opinion at least is one side of the argument.
This author’s plea is that by comparison FBI agents for example, complete 110 hours of firearms training and expend around 5000 rounds during the training. They are then required to qualify quarterly. He stated that the New York Police Department officers undergo 80 hours of handgun training. Statistically these officers only hit their targets 18 percent of the time or one shot out of five. You can see where that argument was going. We get it.
Still, a series of signs placed in plain view outside schools indicating that there are trained and armed personnel in the schools every day would certainly cause most school shooters or any other assaults to pick easier targets. Gun free zones simply do not seem to work.
As proof this seems to play a role in helping to stop school shooting situations, there are numerous stories of armed personnel in schools including principals and teachers stopping such attacks by being armed themselves. When Luke Woodham entered the Pearl, MS high school back in 1997 with a Marlin 30-30 lever action rifle, the assistant principal got his Colt 1911 from his truck and stopped the incident from escalating. Woodham killed two students and wounded seven others. If the principal had only had his gun inside the school.
Other initiatives to prevent mass school shooting like metal detectors, hardened doors, armed guards, bullet proof windows and such could help. The cost would be catastrophic, but these are our children at risk. Limiting high capacity magazines, extending the legal age to buy a long run or banning a class of firearms would seem to make less practical sense. After all would you assault a facility knowing that people inside were armed and ready?