Last year, a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which resulted in 17 deaths, shocked America and ignited a movement against gun violence in the United States. The shooting also sparked debates on how to prevent school shootings and improve security in schools. While many advocated gun control, another prominent suggestion in these debates was to arm teachers. Despite opposition from Parkland survivors, the Florida Senate has recently approved a bill that would permit teachers to carry guns in school.
The main argument for arming teachers is that teachers will be able to respond to a threat and defend themselves and their students immediately rather than having to wait for police. Because school shootings do not usually last long, taking action in the first moments of a shooting can be vital. Some also point out that some schools in more rural areas may not be located near law enforcement and would require a faster response. While these are valid points and school shootings are an urgent matter, I do not believe that allowing teachers to be armed is a viable solution.
Arming teachers can be seen as creating a line of defense in schools, but it also creates an environment with more guns. Having teachers carry guns does not necessarily create a safer environment. In fact, it only brings guns closer to the students and could potentially give students easier access to guns in school. If students are aware that their teacher possesses a gun in the classroom, there is a risk of the weapon being stolen by a student. Placing more guns in school and closer to students may create a more unsafe and uneasy environment for students.
Furthermore, although teachers would have to pass psychological examinations and complete a required amount of training before carrying a gun in school, teachers are still not an equivalent to a security guard or law enforcement, and acting as an armed guard is certainly not a part of their job description. They are not trained to act in situations such as a shooting, even if they know how to use a gun.
Arming teachers is also only a defensive measure. Its goal is to decrease the number of casualties in a shooting, but this measure does not keep an active shooter from choosing and being able to walk into a school with the intent to harm others. Gun violence is not only an issue of defense. Giving teachers guns does not resolve the issue of the frequency of school shootings in the United States. It is a defensive measure, but it will not be enough to prevent gun violence. While security is important, it is also important to find a solution that will prevent a shooter from being able to commit an act of violence in the first place.
Arming teachers does not provide a solution to gun violence in schools. It is only a measure taken in hopes of lessening the casualty rate once a shooter has already been able to find a weapon and enter the school.
While this bill still needs the House vote in order to take effect, the fact that it has been approved at any level should be called into question. The bill does contain other security measures for schools, but the possibility of teachers carrying guns does not promote a safe school environment. More guns is not a solution, nor does it address the actual core issue of gun violence in the United States.