Should we arm our Teachers?
Over a dozen states specifically authorize teachers, principals, and other school officials from carrying concealed on school grounds. While some districts may not specifically provision it, many of those teachers aren't required to disclose whether or not they are carrying.
It's been suggested that teachers be allowed to concealed carry and be given instruction, not unlike air marshals. This would add an extra layer of security in the school system in case of a mass shooter or emergence of some other threat. However, some also wonder if that is a viable solution. After all, schools are gun-free zones…
Training Teachers As First Responders
The prospect has been raised of potentially arming educators, or at least granting a concealed carry permit to teachers that wish to carry on the job. There are several states that do allow for teachers to carry if desired, so long as they obtain a concealed carry permit. It's one of the few jobs that's known for allowing concealed carry, or at least does in some states.
In any emergent situation that arises at a school, the teacher in a classroom would be an ideal first line of defense. Having an armed resource officer or school security guard is a good step, but they may be minutes away when seconds count. An armed person in each classroom, or at least some of them, would be ideally placed to respond should a school shooting or similar event unfold.
How To Start Arming Educators
The first order of business in arming our educators has to do with state law. If the voters decide in the affirmative over the question of "should teachers carry concealed weapons" then a change has to happen to zoning laws at the state level. Specifically, it has to do with concealed carry near schools.
Currently, federal law establishes that guns are not generally allowed on school property unless being transported across a school zone for certain specific purposes or if a person holds a valid concealed carry permit in the state they reside in. Granted, that's federal law. That was written into the original "gun free zones" legislation during the first Bush administration.
Current minimum distances and other prohibitions of firearms in school zones are imposed at the state or local level, and those must be changed to allow educators to conceal and carry a firearm. Ostensibly it would have to require some concealed carry training.
Another possibility, however, would be to create some sort of deputizing scheme. This is how pilots can have a concealed carry pistol.
The Air Marshals Service offers the Federal Flight Deck Officer program to pilots. This includes classroom and range instruction and culminates in the pilot participating being sworn as a reserve Air Marshal. They become a reserve federal LEO and can therefore carry as part of their job.
Ostensibly, the same could be done for teachers or at least those willing to undertake it. Clearly, they have to consent to doing so.
Training Of Vital Importance
If teachers were to be armed, one of the most obvious and most pressing needs would be for training. Just as a civilian carrier should (and in most cases, is legally required to) get concealed carry training, an educator concealing on the job should as well.
It would in effect be an addition to certain first aid training that is already a requisite of the profession. Just like getting a CPR certification, teachers that opt to carry need to take a basic training course and should occasionally take refresher courses and additional training as needed.
Shooting, for self-defense or for sport, is a perishable skill. It needs to be honed and it needs to be practiced in order for the skill to be relied upon when it counts.
Additionally, the fact is that they will be carrying guns around their students. Having an untrained person, who has a gun, around kids is a recipe for disaster. A person carrying absolutely has to have been trained in gun safety and must be an ardent practitioner of it. Nothing less is acceptable.
How Should Teachers Conceal And Carry?
If teachers were to conceal and carry, concealment is obviously of the highest priority. The presence of the gun should be concealed from students, and the carrier should carry with a secure concealed carry holster to safeguard the pistol while carrying.
As to appropriate selection of concealed carry gun, it's just like choosing a CCW pistol for anyone else. The smallest gun, holding the biggest bullet, that a person can shoot well and conceal and carry.
Ultimately, the voters have to reach a decision of whether teachers should carry concealed weapons. They should, as it's clear that first responders cannot now be relied on to stop a school shooting or similar event; only an armed person on the premises can do that. Once it's decided to let them do so, getting the requisite training and picking the concealed carry equipment is up to the person that's going to carry.