Head-To-Head: Allowing qualified teachers to carry firearms helps to protect students

Mary Petersen, In-Depth Editor

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Amidst all the emotion surrounding the contentious issue of gun control and gun violence in schools, many argue that removing guns from schools, even in the hands of trained professionals, will somehow make school safer. However, this only increases the vulnerability of students in schools by leaving them unprotected.

DGN specifically hasn’t caved to this simplistic idea of gun violence and has moved towards school security in the form of armed guards. This is a massive step in the right direction because we can vastly reduce the chances of not only a school shooter harming any students, but of even entering the building in the first place.

Armed guards are the fastest working and most effective method of deterring and stopping school shootings, but they can become a financial burden on schools. Another method of further securing schools with little to no cost to administration and school funds is arming teachers.

Refusing to allow teachers who have gun training and licenses to protect their students is a waste of resources. Obviously not just any teacher should be able to carry a gun into school with nothing more than a background check because that might enable a shooting by a teacher. Teachers with a certain amount of training and a minimum of five years tenure can be discounted as a threat and trusted with a weapon, purely in case of an emergency. 

Some students may be uncomfortable with the idea that this calibur of school security is necessary, or not trust their teachers to use their firearms responsibly. However, it is more unnerving for that sort of security to not be present and for the school to be unprotected. 

Classrooms with armed teachers would be far safer than classrooms without, and should students feel unsafe around teachers with firearms, it would not be impossible to put them in classes where that is not the case. What is important is that schools are protected using whatever means capable of defending against someone willing to do harm.

Gun-free zones, either in schools, events, or any other place seeking to protect its people from gun violence, are counter-intuitive and misunderstand the nature of gun violence in the United States. 

Statistics time and again show that there is essentially nothing more enabling to a mentally unstable gun owner than seas of unarmed victims. A CPRC study most recently updated July 6 states that since 1950, 96.2% of mass shootings have occurred in gun-free zones. Making schools gun-free zones only makes them more attractive to shooters.

No school should be left completely vulnerable to attack. Law should require and pay for at least one armed guard in every school in the country, and teachers should be permitted to be armed nationwide, with the restrictions stated earlier. By rejecting the simplistic idea that fewer guns equals less gun violence, we can more rigorously protect what matters.