The Lasso

Guns do not make schools any safer

(Photo courtesy of T. Arthur Mason via The Minute Man Blog)

(Photo courtesy of T. Arthur Mason via The Minute Man Blog)

Melissa Boyle

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The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida sparked nationwide conversations regarding gun safety in schools.To combat this ongoing issue, President Donald Trump proposed a “solution” which would end gun violence in schools: arming 20% of teachers with guns. In other words, in order to decrease gun violence at schools, Trump wants to increase the availability of firearms in school buildings.

Trump’s plan for ending school shootings by placing guns where they are accessible to students on school grounds is an absurd idea and nowhere close to a solution.

Supporters of Trump’s idea claim that students will not be able to attain these guns because they will be concealed. However, if so many students have the ability to hack computers, then what’s stopping them from being able to acquire a gun hidden within their own classroom? Guns can be protected using locks, but all one has to do in order to learn how to pick a lock is look it up on YouTube and one will find various video tutorials for lockpicking.

Nonetheless, where could teachers keep their guns where their students can’t reach them, but also where teachers can easily access them in an emergency? In a situation where a shooter abruptly appears carrying an automatic rifle, there is no time for a teacher to search for the keys to unlock a weapon.

Let’s say that the teacher is able to arm themself before the shooter enters the scene. With only a handgun and an inadequate level of experience, it would be extremely challenging for a teacher to hit the shooter as they move through a crowd, especially while attempting to avoid a crossfire leading to the deaths of innocent people.

Shooting targets for practice is one thing, but shooting at a living human being with the lives of countless others hanging over your shoulders is an entirely different situation.

“A teacher is not going to be able to do this. Cops and soldiers literally get paid to do this and most of them can’t shoot accurately under stress,” said Jay Kirell, a veteran. “Not because they suck, but because it’s nearly impossible to hit a target in one shot when pumped full of adrenaline.”

In a stressful situation like a school shooting, it’s easy to get disoriented. The adrenaline would likely cause your hands to shake and tunnel vision could kick in. The more anxious and disoriented someone becomes, the more likely they are to make a mistake. In that condition, a teacher can not be relied on to handle a gun coherently and with precision.

“Even police struggle to identify friend or foe under stress,” said Brian Goeselt, a former veteran who now works as a teacher. “My job is to teach and mentor. My authority comes from my knowledge and ability.”

Additionally, most people have a conscience, and would have to think twice to aim and fire a student assailant.

When a law-enforcement officer arrives at the scene of a school shooting, anyone they come across carrying a gun is perceived as an immediate threat. How is a police officer supposed to differentiate an active shooter from an armed teacher? Either the officer would shoot at the first person they see holding a gun or they would grant the shooter more time to impose harm and even the ability to take the officer’s own life by reluctantly investigating before taking action.

On an entirely different note, what funding will the government use to pay for extensive training and guns required to arm teachers?

The government claims that there’s barely enough money in the budget to reimburse teachers who buy classroom supplies with their own money. Now suddenly they have enough money to arm and train 20% of the teachers in every school?

In America, there are over three million public school teachers and 400,000 private school teachers total. Trump’s plan of equipping 20% of teachers with firearms would result in 700,000 armed teachers. With that large of an increase in available guns, some sort of shooting incident is bound to occur at some point.

Unfortunately, it is not nearly as simple as a “good guy with a gun stopping a bad guy with a gun.” Placing firearms on school premises and assuming that every individual receiving them will act “as the good guy” is baseless.

Every so often, there are news stories of teachers getting arrested for abuse or mishandling situations. In 2017, a P.E. teacher was arrested for losing his temper and allegedly trying to choke a student with a jump rope in Fresno, California. Imagine how that situation could have ended if the teacher had been equipped with a gun.

There will never be 100% certainty that a teacher armed with a gun won’t snap and become the next big news story and there will never be 100% certainty that a student won’t be able to or attempt to obtain one of these guns.

Therefore, the power to end someone’s life should not be freely handed out, especially on school grounds.

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Guns do not make schools any safer