Major New Research on School Safety: Schools that Allow Teachers to Carry Guns haven’t seen school shootings during school hours

May 13, 2019 | Original Research

Schools that Allow Teachers to Carry Guns are Extremely Safe: Data on the Rate of Shootings and Accidents in Schools that allow Teachers to Carry


After the Columbine school shooting 20 years ago, one of the more significant changes in how we protect students has been the advance of legislation that allows teachers to carry guns at schools. There are two obvious questions: Does letting teachers carry create dangers? Might they deter attackers? Twenty states currently allow teachers and staff to carry guns to varying degrees on school property, so we don’t need to guess how the policy would work. There has yet to be a single case of someone being wounded or killed from a shooting, let alone a mass public shooting, between 6 AM and midnight at a school that lets teachers carry guns. Fears of teachers carrying guns in terms of such problems as students obtaining teachers guns have not occurred at all, and there was only one accidental discharge outside of school hours with no one was really harmed. While there have not been any problems at schools with armed teachers, the number of people killed at other schools has increased significantly – doubling between 2001 and 2008 versus 2009 and 2018.

The paper is available here. A related journal publication is available here.

The Excel file with the data is available here.



  1. Sean Sheridan

    I’d like to see the trend line for schools in states that allow licensed citizens, not just teachers and staff, to carry concealed in schools.

    • ArmedCatholics

      Yes, I would be interested in data on licensed citizen carry in schools also.

    • Finnfur

      It would be the red bottom trendline because it’s already at zero

    • Randy

      You can’t go below zero!

    • Rick Dalton

      it can’t be lower than 0.

      • Beej

        …unless Jesus shows up!

  2. Tim Kern

    I taught for fifteen years, from high school through postgraduate levels. I always considered the safety of my students to be my first responsibility.
    I carried more days than not. No one, not even my wife, ever knew.
    It’s better to be safe than beg for permission.
    If you feel you should carry, carry. If you do it right and you don’t need the gun, nobody will ever know. And if you do need it, no one will argue.

    • Al

      “And if you do need it, no one will argue.”
      Maybe not in your state, but in some states the good guy can end up being the bad guy for wasting the “poor misunderstood” perp. //sarc off//
      The more dead children the merrier it is for the left in their quest for absolute control when a major step would be the confiscation of all guns that they do not own.

    • Mike


    • Farron Schwierzke

      Perfectly said!

  3. Smith Guy

    Would like to see a clean list of which states allow carry and the year it was enacted.

  4. Jess L Stark

    As a law enforcement veteran of 53 years, I have always known and espoused that “Gun Free Zones” were not only counter-productive but that the legislators who implemented them had blood on their hands. Glad to see America finally waking up. As a firearms instructor for my department I have always offered and given free training to those willing to take on that heavy burden of responsibility..

    • Wulf Best

      I live in the UK and cannot remember a school shooting in the last 20 years
      The problem is not that teachers aren’t armed- it is the ridiculous notion that it is somehow safe to allow millions of ordinary citizens free access to lethal weapons that gives rise to the phenomenon in the first place!

      • Lying Bastard

        WULF BEST, so for the last 20 years there has been no killings in UK schools? Note I am not differentiating killing by gun vs other means. Murder is murder.

      • Marinevet

        Worry about your own country. Not ours. In yours they have finally resorted to taking away knives because killing still continued after they took away you right to self defense with a gun. The problem is people, not guns. People will always find a way to do their killing. Gun or not. We here are unwilling to give up our right to guns and become sheep to the government.

      • Brad

        I haven’t looking into your school shooting rate, but it’s interesting that if a person is shot dead in the middle of the street, he not considered to be murdered unless someone is charged with the crime. I suppose that makes it seem safer.

        Your murder and crime rates went up since gun control (while the U.S.’s have been trending down, despite loosening gun-control laws).

        Why do you suppose gun control work well for the UK?

  5. Jim Pacheco

    The anti-science anti-gun fascists aren’t listening. Dead children are okay if it helps disarm the people.

  6. David Friedman

    It’s interesting, but it would be helpful to have a more careful statistical analysis to check how unlikely the result is to occur by chance. The article gives some figures on numbers of deaths. But deaths are clustered, since a single incident might be responsible for multiple deaths.

    • johnrlott

      It is great to hear from you. The problem is that I don’t know the number of school districts in each year that have teachers that carry guns. We were able to contact each school that had a shooting to see what the rules were for that school at the time of the shooting. But the decision is usually up to the individual schools and that would require that we contact all the school in states that allow it. The one option that I have is to take the states that didn’t leave it up to the individual schools either way. My concern is that would greatly reduce the sample, primarily on the side of states that let teachers carry. But that said, whatever the odds, you have convinced me that I should give it a try.

      Thanks for reaching out.

      • Bill Tallen

        John is correct. Data collection is very difficult, because the decision to authorize concealed carry is usually left to the school district, if not to the individual school, and there are often confidentiality requirements that prevent anyone from sharing information as to who, or how many personnel may be armed in any district or school. These are sensible precautions, but one effect is an unwillingness on the part of schools, districts, and states to share information with researchers. All you can do is look at actual shooting incidents and ascertain whether there were legally armed staff present in that school.

        • brad

          Meaningful analysis need not include data on whether there were actual legally armed staff present in that school, but simply if armed staff are allowed (as long as the public is aware that an attack might be met with deadly force from staff.)

    • Clayton Irvine

      For the left, dead kids are ok too if they are an inconvenience.

      • Bill H.

        Here is the real problem, Left vs. Right. There is no black or white answer to the problem. As stated in a earlier reply, PEOPLE are the problem. I do not consider myself on the Right or Left, I have been a teacher for 32 yrs in middle and high school in CA where some of the toughest (worst) gun laws exist. I smoke marijuana AND own guns. The real problem is the extremest on both sides have to dramatize both ends, with out actually solving the problem, too many people in too few places, with too few jobs and hope of a decent life. I will continue to protect my family and home, but will continue to vote for laws that actually protect people and lives. No child or adult who is causing no harm should be killed by any means, just to satisfy some political agenda.

  7. Bill

    I’ll immediately snatch your rss feed as I can’t in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service.
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    that I may subscribe. Thanks. I couldn’t resist
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  8. David

    In 1982, Kennesaw, Georgia passed a law requiring heads of households to keep at least one firearm in
    the house. The residential burglary rate subsequently dropped 89% in Kennesaw, compared to just 10.4% drop in Georgia as a whole.
    Today, the violent crime rate in Kennesaw is 85% lower than the national average.

  9. Laura Carno

    Thanks John, great research. A quick note about Colorado.: Although there is no law regulating the training involved, the insurance companies have a definite say! There is no one in CO who has staff carrying on campus whose insurance company doesn’t require initial training, ongoing training and practice, and annual re-qualification.
    Laura Carno

  10. John Jensen

    How many lives have been saved by allowing teachers to be armed? How many injuries have been prevented? Page 9, paragraph 1 of the paper mentions a subset of the school districts, but I wonder what it was across the entire data set? Assuming the distribution of shootings is random across the population (ie uniform), it seems like this would be the talking point for this paper.

    • ThinkLonger

      It’s hard to determine lives saved, but there are multiple examples where shooters wrote in their manifesto how they chose not to attack areas where they knew they could meet armed resistance.

  11. Wizzid0

    We can thank Joe Biden for Gun Free Zones. He introduced the bill in the Senate. Elect him and get more of the same.

  12. Max Dane

    Red flag laws work because no one who has been disarmed by one has committed a gun crime after (so they claim). Therefore a;;owing teachers to be armed is a good thing, because no school district allowing armed teachers/staff has had a school shooting. Gun free zones are bad because that is where mass shootings occur. Can’t logically argue for one and against the others.
    This is why getting rid of gun free zones should be the minimum that we get if they want ANY gun restriction.


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