Proposals To Arm School Guards Met With Opposition
Among the numerous proposals intended to prevent gun violence in schools, perhaps the most controversial is the suggestion to arm teachers or to hire armed security to police school grounds. The response to these ideas has been mixed, with some viewing them as an effective solution to curb gun violence and others condemning them, saying it will only lead to additional shootings.
The proposal first gained momentum after a speech by Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. In the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 students and six adults dead, LaPierre issued a statement on behalf of the NRA proposing that an armed officer be stationed in every school in the country. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said.
Despite a poll from Public Policy Polling that showed this idea was supported by just 41 percent of the country, some gun advocates took LaPierre’s proposal one step further, suggesting that teachers themselves should be armed. This idea was far less popular, with only 27 percent approval.
However, approval for such ideas is far greater in some specific locales. A town in Utah has introduced a resolution that would provide firearms training for elementary school teachers and allow them to carry concealed weapons into their classrooms, with similar programs being launched in Texas, Ohio and Oklahoma.
Others have not been nearly as enthusiastic. In a Huffington Post survey regarding the proposal in Oklahoma, more than three-quarters of respondents said they did not think arming teachers would make schools any safer. Respondents offered numerous objections, but their biggest concern was that a loaded gun in a classroom could easily fall into the hands of a student, with potentially tragic results.
School administrators have also voiced their objections. An open letter written by two college presidents from Georgia has called for a ban on firearms on all campuses, as well as other gun safety measures. More than 300 other college and university presidents have since added their signatures to the letter. The group, called College Presidents for Gun Safety, has more actions planned.
"We are working on a whole series of next steps," Lawrence Schall, one of the authors of the letter, told Campus Progress. "These include meetings with our state and federal legislators and faculty and student led discussions on many of our campuses. I believe we will have a press event in Washington in early February announcing a partnership with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, with some 900 mayor signatories. We are just getting started and new presidents sign on each week."
While the movement to arm teachers has struggled to gain traction nationally, there is still a very real possibility that guns will find their way into schools, though not in educators' hands. Part of President Obama’s recent plan to prevent gun violence is a proposal to allocate $150 million dollars to schools in order to hire armed guards.
The desire to protect students from the threat of gun violence is understandable. But there is no evidence that having more guns in schools does anything to increase safety, and the increased possibility of these guns falling into the wrong hands makes it too great a risk.
Kevin Jersey is a reporter for Campus Progress. Follow him on Twitter @wordsnotbullets.
- With No Clear Trend in Youth Vote, A Challenge Awaits Progressives
- Why Millennials Aren’t Lazy, Entitled Narcissists
- What If ‘Hetero’ Was the New ‘Homo’?
- #TrademarkFail: How Disney Tried To Own ‘Día de los Muertos’
- Why State Support for Marriage Equality Is Gaining Momentum