By Emma Kaohi | The Broadside (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Following the Parkland, Fla. shooting, controversy spread across the country, as people were fed up with the lack of change in regulations surrounding gun violence.
“With a U.S. Marine Corp background, if I’m going to be attacked, how is the enemy going to do it? I try to put myself in the guys shoes,” said first-year student Sky Smith. “One thing that really makes me nervous about our school systems right now is that it’s a really soft target, there’s nothing there to dissuade someone from walking in, but I think there are a lot of really good options on what we could do. I think we could arm teachers, but then people voice their concerns about bringing a gun into the school.”
Although no laws or regulations have been made yet, there are proposals being put forth by the National Rifle Association and President Donald Trump for teachers across the nation to start carrying firearms as a means of protection for students in the event of a school shooting.
Trump spoke with Jeanine Pirro on her talk show on Fox, “I think we’re going to have a great bill put forward, very soon, having to do with background checks, having to do with getting rid of certain things, and keeping other things, and perhaps we’ll do something on age.”
Prior to this, however, he took his thoughts to Twitter, and posted a series of tweets, claiming that 10 to 20 percent of the nations teachers are qualified to handle a firearm. In these tweets, he stated that teachers would be able to, “immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this.”
If guns were to be given to 20 percent of the nation’s teachers, with 3.1 million public school and 400,000 private school teachers in America, guns would be given to up to 700,000 civilians, according to a 2015 National Center for Education Statistics survey.
“I honestly think giving teachers guns is an okay thing to do,” said first-year student Amanda Prince. “But they would have to go through training first. If it keeps them safe though, I’m for it.”
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012 that took 20 lives of young children and teachers, 200 Utah teachers took part in a training session held in a conference room in an arena, working with a plastic weapon. Utah’s laws have allowed teachers to carry concealed firearms on campus, similarly to Oregon, Idaho, Arkansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Colorado, Mississippi, and Kansas.
Teachers with guns trainings are beginning to be implemented across the country, with one training at a high school in California ending with a misfire, resulting in injuries to a students neck. The firearm was aimed at the ceiling and officials claimed that it was ceiling fragmentation that were lodged into the student’s neck, however the student’s parents are confident that the injuries were caused by bullet fragments.
“There’s a saying I took very easily as an Occupational Officer in the Marine Corp, my job was to train Marines,” Smith said, “and you get them and they’re scared to make mistakes. I tell them ‘listen, training mistakes prevent future failures.”
With a minimum of one school shooting per year for the last 19 years, finding means of prevention of these recurring failures does need to occur.
However, arming teachers with guns may not be the answer, as 73 percent of teachers voted in opposition of the current proposal, according to a Gallup survey reported on by CNBC. In addition, more than 80 percent stated that they would not participate in trainings, even if implemented by the school.
Even with the current gun control prevention debate, more than 100 proposed ideas have been discussed in Congress, all of which have failed..
There are currently two proposed gun control bills loitering on Capitol Hill, and with the help of the survivors of the Parkland shooting, there will be more to come. ■