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Do Teachers Want to go Armed at School?

May 23, 2018

Are teachers a bunch of gun nuts? Is this the root of a hidden conspiracy where school teachers are really the secret strength of the NRA? I doubt it. Fortunately we have real data so we don’t need to rely on opinion. Facts show that a surprisingly large percentage of teachers want to carry a firearm at school. The fraction of teachers who want to go armed is several times higher than the average concealed carry rate across the US. That makes sense once we dig into it.

The conventional talking point is that teachers don’t like guns. Unionized teachers are broadly considered to be more liberal than the general populace. The president of the National Education Association said, “Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence.” If guns are not the answer, then perhaps the teachers union president wants us to call animal control when a school is attacked? Most of us would call a cop; a good guy with a gun.

Union members are also reluctant to ask to do the work currently done by the members of another union. According to that meme, it is the job of the police to protect us, not armed teachers.

Unfortunately, it isn’t really the job of the police to protect us. Law enforcement gathers evidence for prosecution. Cops will arrest a suspect after they’ve built a case. The only time I can count on a cop to protect me is if I’ve hired an off duty police officer to work security for my private event.

A recent Gallup poll gives us some insights into what teachers think. The poll results are largely unsurprising. Most teachers don’t like guns. What is a surprise is that 18 percent of teachers would apply to take training and carry a firearm at work if their school district allowed it. 18 percent is certainly not a majority, but a majority of us don’t carry a concealed firearm in public either. On average, only 6 percent of adults have their concealed carry permits. That means that teachers are about three times more eager than the average citizen to carry a firearm for personal protection. I doubt we’d have attacks on our schools if 1 out of 6 teachers were armed. I didn’t know that a significant number of teachers wanted to be armed and I wish the news reports had included that perspective when the poll numbers came out.

Teachers are about three times more eager than the average citizen to carry a firearm for personal protection.

The teacher’s desire to go armed makes sense when we think about it. In general, gun control becomes more popular after a mass murder. We all want to save lives, and our initial impulse is to consider another law. Seeing the opposite effect among teachers seems counterintuitive at first.

Consider the teacher’s perspective. While most of us have a general interest in school safety, teachers have a particular interest. We both share our desire to protect students, but teachers will be on scene if a school is attacked. For teachers, the school attacks are personal. Their response is personal as well. which I say, “Thank you!” Every teacher I’ve talked to calls their students “my kids”. I love it that teachers want to protect “our kids”. I want teachers to save their own lives as well.

Don’t you?

“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2018 6:02 am

    “Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence.”

    How would they now? Pure ignorant speculation on their part. But they are required to have first aid kits, fire extinguishers and AED devices “just in case” the need arises.

    I’m a teacher and the union doesn’t speak for my right to protect myself and my students if need be. They need to stick to negotiating their collective bargaining tasks and mind their own business on things that they are not hired to do, nor educated in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reginald Hafner permalink
    May 24, 2018 7:17 am

    Anyone who doesn’t want the ability to defend themselves is a fool.


  3. Bloving permalink
    May 25, 2018 10:12 pm

    We’ve heard it many times, “more guns in school won’t make them safer”. But when a parent or teacher says that to me in conversation, I’ll try to delve into their minds to find out why they think that; more often than not, what really bothers them isn’t the idea of a teacher having a gun (they are the “good guys” after all), it’s the thought that they NEED a gun that bothers them. Schools would be safe, they reason, if no one could bring a gun there at all. True, I’ll grant them, but when a killer simply ignores the sign outside the school and walks through the front door unchallenged, what then? Will your hopes and dreams of a nicer world serve as your shield? It hasn’t worked yet, and I’d say at this point we’ve tested that theory as much as we need to. You don’t want to carry a gun to defend your students? Suit yourself, it is a voluntary decision after all. But could you at least acknowledge that the teacher who would rather fight back to defend her students has just as valid an opinion as you and get out of her way? These suicidal/homicidal kids already know from several examples that schools are an easy target. What they need to see now are repeated instances of killers failing spectacularly in a hail of teachers bullets to get the glory they dream of. Only then will they see the last failure and say to themselves, “Well that was dumb, maybe I shouldn’t try that”.


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