James Thomas

Arming Teachers

There are good ideas, there are bad ideas, and there are some just plain dumb ideas. Wherever you fall on the gun control spectrum, arming teachers a just plain dumb idea.

Becoming proficient with a firearm takes training, practice, and a passion to excel at marksmanship. Many of you reading this know because you’ve done that work. And those of you who are hunters probably know what “buck fever” is; that rush of adrenaline and excitement that makes novice hunters sometimes shoot prematurely before carefully framing, exhaling, and squeezing off the shot. Now imagine an emergent live shooter situation in a classroom full of kids who you’re in the middle of teaching to solve quadratic equations. Imagine that you are not by nature a “gun person” and now you’re trying to get your students down and keep them from freaking out while fetching your weapon, running through the checklist in your mind: is there a round in the chamber, is the safety off, is the shooter wearing body armor, is there a backstop behind the shooter or am I going to kill someone on the other side of the wall?

A recent news item tells of an FBI agent accidentally shooting another patron while doing a backflip while dancing. Firearms accidents happen even when in the hands of highly trained law enforcement officials. Accidents can happen with only a momentary lapse in judgment or attention. Increasing the number of firearms in schools increases the chances of firearm accidents occurring in schools. There are roughly 95,000 primary and secondary schools in America. You do the math…

How about this instead: we hire the very best teachers that we can and let them teach. We use appropriate technology to keep weapons out of schools. And where necessary we hire the very best law enforcement professionals to carry firearms in schools.

I was once asked by an interviewer how I proposed paying for that. Seriously? We’re talking about our kids coming home alive after school. Are we really going to quibble over how we pay for appropriate security?

For State Representative, 35th District Position 1
Arming Teachers