CPRC debating “Should Teachers Be Armed?”

4 Jan , 2017  

Dr. John Lott engaged in a debate with fourteen others about whether teachers should be armed (eleven against versus four for it, not exactly balanced).  None of the eleven people who oppose letting teachers carry guns have presented any empirical evidence on teachers carrying.  They only concerns about what might possibly go wrong.  Dr. Lott’s piece is available here:

Letting teachers and staff carry concealed handguns is nothing new in the United States. And there has been good reason for allowing it — police virtually always arrive after an attack has occurred. Police are very important to fighting crime, but stopping terrorism is a uniquely difficult challenge. For police and security guards, wearing a uniform is often akin to wearing a neon sign saying “shoot me first.”

Would you feel safer by posting a sign announcing that your home is a gun-free zone? Criminals don’t obey these signs. In fact, to criminals, gun-free zones look like easy targets. So it doesn’t make any sense to display these signs in public places.

There seems to be a particular fear of concealed handguns being on school property, but this fear is misplaced. Prior to the early 1990s, states that allowed concealed carry didn’t have any special restrictions concerning carrying on K-12 property. And there weren’t any problems.

Twenty-four states allow teachers and staff to carry, though the rules vary across states. Alabama, Utah, New Hampshire, and parts of Oregon leave it up to the teachers and staff to carry.  In other states, it requires the approval of the superintendent or the school board, For example, for Ohio, at least 40 school districts allow teachers to carry.

A common fear has been that someone will take the gun away from a teacher and use it improperly. But this has never happened. And excluding a few cases of accidental discharges when school grounds have been used for off-hours firearms training, there has only been one accidental discharge involving a permit holder on K-12 property. This happened in Utah and resulted in only a very minor injury.

From what I’ve seen in Utah, [school insurance] rates have not gone up because of guns being allowed,” says Curt Oda, past president of the Utah Independent Insurance Agents Association of Utah.

Others are concerned that permit holders will accidentally shoot bystanders or themselves be shot if police respond to the scene and mistake them for the attackers. . . .

The rest of the piece is available here.


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