Should Teachers Be Allowed To Carry Guns?


Gabriella Torna

It is a popular dispute, leading as a national trend, to worry about gun safety. Many wonder if it would be better to give teachers firearms to defend students in an emergency, or if to just let them teach.

Since the shocking news of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, Coral Gables Senior High, along with other public schools in Miami, has dedicated its time to implementing a stricter code of conduct for students- along with a change in uniform policies and the time teachers release children from class. All of these changes are meant to maintain a much safer environment in which students and staff feel comfortable. However, a much more drastic idea is circulating across the nation, and it has caused a great amount of controversy. The question being asked by many Americans is whether teachers should be allowed to carry firearms on school premises. This, of course, is something that should be dismissed from the table as a possibility seeing as it would be absurdly unnecessary; in fact, it would be more harmful to the promotion of a safe environment in our South Florida schools.

The most integral part of keeping a mass amount of people secure is assuring everyone of their own safety. Even though the school might not truly be as protected as individuals would like, people have psychological tendencies to feel less fearful in situations where emotions of comfort are being expressed. Allowing teachers to have guns in their classrooms takes away from the feeling of security since it won’t guarantee the limitation of fearful emotions. Instead, it would only instill fear, since providing teachers with guns just shows a sign of insecurity with previous inabilities to keep others safe.

Apart from this, it should be mentioned that most gun injuries are not because of people shooting others, but because gun carriers end up hurting themselves or others with the weapon. It could be argued that not every teacher should or will carry a gun in schools, and if they do, they would have to be extensively trained; however, that does not stop anyone from being harmed. Guns are unpredictable weapons. In 2013 alone there were over 3,800 deaths from accidental shootings, and those values keep going up. These are mostly caused because the holder does not know how to properly handle a firearm. Since many guns are difficult to control, not only would it be hard for a teacher to use it in the first place, it gives others an opportunity to use that gun to their advantage. In 2009, statistics showed that there were 18,735 firearm suicides, 11,493 firearm homicides and some 554 unintentional firearm deaths. Those are already high numbers, not forgetting that those who died with a firearm have almost tripled in amount only in the past two years. This reveals that the number of people dying from these weapons is only increasing and will continue to do so; thus, adding more guns to the issue only raises the statistical chances of someone getting harmed by a gun.

It is commonly known that the mental stability of any gun holder cannot be proven, so it would require a much more extensive background check and psychological tests to truly see if future gun owners, the teachers, would be eligible to carry firearms. Unfortunately, tests like these have failed numerous times, and it is not like the government keeps up with these checks once the owner is in possession of a gun. Just like the weapon itself, there is no guarantee that the teacher would be mentally or physically stable enough to handle a gun when the moment presents itself. This is due to the fact that we, as humans, are unpredictable in a state of panic. Who knows what that teacher would do if they are scared for their lives along with their own students? There is no possible way to know how they might react. Yes, drills might be a decent preparation for any event, especially for students, but that could easily not be the case when it comes to realistic terms.

Everyone seems to agree that teachers would be the first to act if a threat intrudes into the classroom. However, if that were the case, everyone should be more worried about preventing the menace from entering in the first place, instead of playing a risky game of ‘what if’ at that moment. Either way, in the case that the threat does enter, the teacher would most likely be the first target. This would not give the teacher any time to take out a gun, aim it properly, and safely take out the menace. Worst case scenario, the teacher could potentially do more harm than good, hurting children and themselves in the process of trying to take the shooter out. This is also assuming that the teacher has the gun ready for use, which would be ludicrous since that increases the possibility of a student stealing the gun easily. The most logical case would be that the gun is locked up, and the teacher must unlock it before they have to assemble it and load it correctly- this would be to avoid students from having access to the firearm. No matter how long they have to prepare the weapon after a code red is announced, there are too many variables in those situations: the teacher panicking, an unexpected action of a student, the shooter’s control of the situation, startling noises like alarms or screams or the lack of judgement from any of the affected parties. All these variables lead up to the tragic event of someone getting hurt.

“Teachers should not carry guns because a teacher could have it easily stolen from them. The teacher may be helping another kid, and a student can easily steal it behind their back. I would say no because you can go through a lot of emotional issues with the teacher, and who is to stop the teacher from going on an emotional tirade? Some teachers might already be licensed to carry a gun, but in a classroom, a student [or whoever plans on hurting others] could easily knock them out and grab their gun, allowing them to hurt others. The teacher becomes an enabler to the school assassin,” Anatomy and Biology teacher Stephen Mayer said.

Now, some people may argue differently. For starters, people believe that teachers are the ones responsible for the safety of their students. They should be the first to act if someone was to attack their classrooms, as mentioned before. In other words, having a concealed weapon would allow a teacher to quickly eliminate a threat. Others also mention that there could be so many lives saved by having teachers carry their own weapons. Other than that, it is their constitutional right to be able to bear arms as citizens of the United States. However, there are various flaws in those arguments. While it is true that teachers are the ones mainly responsible for their students’ safety (seeing as they are the ones which share a classroom), this does not mean that they are the only ones meant to protect the school. This is why there are security guards. Everyone seems to agree that teachers would require training to carry these weapons, so why not focus our attention on the security guards who patrols the school hallways. They do not necessarily have to carry a gun either, but the money that would be wasted in training these teachers could be easily pocketed towards amping up security, their own training and basic safety regulations across the entire school instead of focusing on one specific teacher in the building. Apart from that, it is true that no one can deny that it is a constitutional right to bear arms. Nonetheless, just because it is in the Bill of Rights does not mean it cannot be restricted by new implemented laws. There are various places where guns are not allowed to be on our property: airports, public schools, postal offices (or any federal building) or even state and national parks. There are reasons why these laws are put in place, and adding guns to public schools, which normally have a large number of people in confined spaces, cannot possibly be a good idea. And for the people trying to argue that some colleges and schools are allowing teachers to carry guns, this would be because they are private institutions, which already have certain ideas in mind, and colleges consist of already adult students.

“Teachers should not carry guns. Some think that it will prevent a tragedy from happening again, but teachers can abuse their power if they would like. It would not be fair to the student body even if the intentions are good. The point of the protests is to get gun control, not to hand guns to even more people. Students want safety, not problems,” freshman Sharon Flores said.

Whether you are on one side of this argument or the other, there seems to be green grass on both sides of the fence. However, if we did get to the point where we crossed to the side where public schools would allow their teachers to carry guns, we would have to think of the mark that it would leave on our more impressionable students. We would be setting the example that our schools are not safe when in reality, schools tend to be the safest places for students and adults alike. Other than that, when have we ever solved a problem by adding more of it? How are we going to stop people from having access to guns, and stop them from going through with horrendous shootings, when all we do is supply more guns? It is not logical to put students and teachers in a constant fear from pending danger when there are much better ways to achieve the same results.