More guns in schools will decrease safety, have countereffect


Are guns in school too much? Photo by Asa Lory

Hagar Gov-Ari

Photo Illustration by Asa Lory
Photo Illustration by Asa Lory
Following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., defenders of the Second Amendment of the Constitution have been up in arms, fighting to maintain their rights as citizens to legally own guns. As of Jan. 19, members of the Missouri House of Representatives have been working to pass a bill that would allow teachers to bring firearms onto school grounds with a concealed carry permit.
While Missouri House representatives proposed this bill with safety in mind, the House will pass it with danger in hand. Aside from the obvious hazards that come with the legalization of firearms anywhere, especially on school premises, the concept of weapons in a school zone is far more dangerous. The arming of teachers has the potential not only to be physically hazardous, but also hazardous to the environment teachers and administrators have worked so hard to build for school systems. Teachers are role models of sorts and should display in their actions and morals the qualities they wish to instill in their students. By passing this bill, the Missouri legislatures are supporting the notion that violence should be one of these taught qualities.
There are also emotional predicaments teachers would have to contemplate. The obvious question: “If I deny my right to concealed carry in my classroom, am I denying my students their fundamental recourse for safety in the face of a tragedy?” If legislatures are so certain that this bill will be successful in providing teachers a chance to defend their students, they should at least address the potential safety imbalance that the bill allows for. Since it is the teacher’s choice as to whether or not there will be a gun present in the wake of tragedy, this means that some classes will be “more safe” than others. It is unjust to provide one classroom a “safe opportunity” that is not available in another classroom, and it is immoral to put teachers in the position of choosing between their legal right to exercise restraint at the expense of their students’ safety.
Civil rights activist Jesse James once stated that “a man who cannot be … intimidated by the threat of jail or death has two of the strongest weapons that anyone has to offer.” In a study done by the Chicago-Sun Times, they discovered the Secret Service of the United States even believed this was an emotional problem that required psychological attention, as opposed to physical. They had said that, “If every parent went away from this, not worrying that their boy is going to kill someone, but listening and paying attention to depression, we’d be better off.”
Equipping our teachers with the right to bear arms in schools is a weak strategy to a problematic reality that has unfortunately struck the innocent once again. While this bill is admirable in the fact that it is timely attempting to address the violent issue at hand, it is wrong in its approach. This, however, is not to say that the problem doesn’t still need a serious and immediate solution that does not involve ill-planned decisions and a touchy nation. Instead of reacting with the quickest solution that comes to mind, it would be safer and more practical to react with our minds, not our wounded and fearful consciences. If safety and protection are the priorities of this bill, it would be contradictory to arm scared citizens.
In situations where the violence at a school has the nation fired up, it is important to keep in mind the distinct contexts among the much too plentiful school mass murders. Linking them, trying to jump to quick conclusions and hurling blame will continue to prove ineffective and elusive. Every second-grade student is taught that an eye for an eye doesn’t make it even. Fighting back with weapons works under that same, simple logic. This is the time to band heads together and to fight a common enemy with logic and the law, as opposed to rash decisions and a strong potential for more violence and more pain.
Instead of spending time and resources trying to find teachers who will be willing to access their newfound right to bring lethal weapons into school buildings, it would be more beneficial, safe and realistic to double up on security measures on school grounds.
Better than arming relatively inexperienced and hesitant teachers, a more stable solution would involve an increased number of security guards and police officers on duty in a school district. The same study done by the Chicago Times showed that the shooters typically didn’t snap. Their acts of mass murder and destruction are premeditated. Just like any suicidal teen, these vulnerable yet sick individuals are crying out for help.
So arm teachers with knowledge: with the ability to distinguish between an attention-hog and the seriously troubled, with the sense to defend not only their victimized students after the fact, but their depressed and disturbed students before it. And in the case that the shooter is not a student, equip society and parents with this same weapon. The true weapon in defense of such tragic events is knowledge, not armory.
By Hagar Gov-Ari
Should teachers be allowed to carry guns at school if they have passed a training course?