Florida lawmakers are trying to allow school districts to arm teachers, and there are some really ill-informed and nonsensical arguments against the idea out there.
On Tuesday, the Florida Senate approved a bill to allow public school teachers to carry firearms if local school boards agree to it. Conservative Gov. Ron DeSantis has previously expressed an openness to the idea, but it still hasn’t passed the House.
Under the bill, the educators who choose to bring guns to school would would have to undergo a psychological evaluation and also take over 140 hours of training, which would be evaluated by local law enforcement.
Here are some of the arguments against it.
“What if someone takes the gun when the teacher’s not looking?” Escambia County Schools Superintendent Malcolm Thomas asked in opposition in a story at WEAR. “What if the teacher gets mad and inappropriately waves that gun and it goes off?”
Yes, because someone who undergoes a psych evaluation and logs way more training hours than your average concealed carry permit holder is going to leave a gun unsecured around schoolchildren or wildly brandish a handgun around students.
Gun locks and safes exist. Retention holsters also exist. And people who have been trained how to use guns properly and responsibly will know about both of them. Superintendent Thomas apparently has a very low opinion of the competence of the Sunshine State’s public school teachers or just those under his employ, if those questions are any indication.
“I think the role of the teacher is to protect the students and if you arm them, and they have to go look for a shooter or someone on campus, who’s watching their children?” asks another local education official in the WEAR story.
A basic defensive pistol or concealed course would really go a long way in this discussion. Absolutely nothing says that a teacher would have to leave his or her students in a school shooter situation. And assuming that teachers stay with their classrooms in that horrific hypothetical situation, while hopefully finding them a safe means of escape, they have a much better chance doing so armed than as an unarmed soft target.
“What we are telling teachers [is] if you want protection for you and your children then you do it yourself,” says Democratic lawmaker Bill Muntford in a story at the Florida Sun-Sentinel, noting how public teachers are already overburdened by their de facto roles as counselors and social workers.
No, the bill allows teachers to opt in to carrying firearms. It doesn’t preclude the option for state or local education officials to allocate more funds for security personnel. It merely allows teachers to go through the voluntary training to help keep their students safer.
Indeed, public school teachers are overburdened these days, thanks to the need to pick up the slack created by the decline of the American family structure and social fabric, plus the burdens placed on them by politicians’ and bureaucrats’ efforts to centralize control and oversight of public education. But allowing them to opt into a program like this isn’t going to make those problems worse.
“Teachers don’t need a gun. They need a raise,” tweeted 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. “We have to give them the resources they need to educate the next generation of leaders.”
Teachers don’t need a gun. They need a raise.
We have to give them the resources they need to educate the next generation of leaders. https://t.co/ozXmwea7Y0
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 24, 2019
Teacher compensation and means of student safety are separate issues that aren’t mutually exclusive to pursue. To present them as a false dichotomy like that is just flat-out intellectually dishonest.
Indeed, we’ve once again come across a legitimate gun safety policy — that is, one based on the principle of trained, responsible self-defense — where the opposition thrives on fear, ignorance, and faulty logic.