Gun rights advocates: Arm our teachers to help stop school shootings

Gun rights activists have a wild solution for school shootings -- and it's gaining traction with state lawmakers

Topics: NRA, Gun Control, Gun Violence, Louie Gohmert, Newtown school shooting, Editor's Picks,

As Democrats in Congress push for a change to national gun laws, another solution is gaining momentum among gun rights activists and state lawmakers: Arm all of the teachers.

It began with Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who said that he wished principal Dawn Hochsprung had been armed during the shooting. ”I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out … and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.” This is nothing new for Gohmert: He floated a similar idea after the shootings in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.: “Well, it does make me wonder, you know with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying that could’ve stopped this guy more quickly?”

Gun rights activists (and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who said at a Tea Party meeting: “You should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state” if you have a permit) quickly reiterated Gohmert’s point.

“The problem we have is a gun-free zone,” said Richard Pearson, executive of the Illinois State Rifle Association, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. ”We have a gun-free zone around a school. Every crazy person knows that. And so, the gun-free zone is like a magnet for the lunatics. He or she knows there won’t be any resistance there.”

John R. Lott, a gun-rights activist and academic who wrote a book called ”More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws,” told Newsmax: “By far the safest course of action for people to take, when they are confronting a criminal, is to have a gun. This is particularly true for the people in our society who are the most vulnerable.” He added: “People may not realize this, but we allowed permit-concealed handguns in schools prior to the ironically named Safe School Zone Act. And no one that I know has been able to point to a single bad thing that occurred, not one.”



“Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands,” said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. “Federal and state laws combined to ensure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered. This tragedy underscores the urgency of getting rid of gun bans in school zones. The only thing accomplished by gun free zones is to ensure that mass murderers can slay more before they are finally confronted by someone with a gun.”

Currently, only Utah and Kansas allow anyone with a permit to carry concealed to do so on any K-12 campus. In the wake of the shootings, Utah legislators have suggested that they may review and possibly clarify their statute.

But now other states are considering similar laws.

In Oklahoma, state Rep. Mark McCullough, R, said he will introduce legislation to allow trained teachers and principals to carry firearms on school grounds. “This sacrosanct notion that we cannot do anything but have gun-free zones is just a fallacy,” he said, the Oklahoman reports. “What we’re dealing with here is people who don’t care. They’ve erased their moral compass. They don’t care about the law, and they are intent on horrific acts.”

Rep. Betty Olson, R-S.D., told the Associated Press that she will introduce a bill to let school personnel with concealed weapons permits to carry guns in the building. ”They’re going to be dead regardless [if there is a shooter], the way I see it, so (being armed) is the only chance they’ve got,” she said.

“Looking at this tragedy that happened with K-12, we might have to have an armed employee at the schools, that’s a measure, that’s a measure,” said Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, a Republican.

Florida Rep. Dennis Baxley, R, who sponsored the bill that became the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, called for an end to banning firearms in schools. “We need to be more realistic at looking at this policy. In our zealousness to protect people from harm we’ve created all these gun-free zones and what we’ve inadvertently done is we’ve made them a target,” he said. “A helpless target is exactly what a deranged person is looking for where they cannot be stopped.”

And then there are those who are already providing teachers with the opportunity to arm themselves: A gun store in Texas, for instance, is offering teachers a 10 percent discount to attend a concealed carry class.

The patriot group the Oath Keepers is also offering free firearms training to any teacher who requests it, as well as training in the “use of blunt objects and improvised objects for self-defense, use of knives, use of pepper spray, empty-hand defensive tactics, and methods of disarming an attacker who is armed with guns or knives, as well as crime awareness and crisis mindset training.”

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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