On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stone man Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing seventeen students and staff members and injuring seventeen others. Shortly after this devastating tragedy, state lawmakers passed legislation requiring schools to place at least one armed staff member or law-enforcement officer on campus. The latest laws have made it possible for classroom teachers who are properly licensed and trained to carry a gun daily as one of their classroom tools for “safety”.
Is arming teachers our nation’s best response to gun violence?
On one side individuals are worried to have their guns taken away and that federal laws will limit their rights to keep and bear arms. They say that lawmakers are reacting with emotions and eroding the “God given” right to security protected in the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution. But the Supreme Court recently has expanded this right and gun laws are only slowly becoming more restrictive.
The 2nd amendment protects each individual’s choice to carry a firearm and to keep them in their homes for self defense. In 2010 the supreme court ruled in McDonald v. Chicago. The court said that gun rights are fundamental to the Nation’s scheme of ordered liberty” or that are “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” are appropriately applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court recognized in Heller that the right to self-defense was one such “fundamental” and “deeply rooted” right. This court precedent and the fear of another shooting is allowing extreme legislation such as the arming of teachers in classrooms. Schools are sensitive public places with many considerations for varied viewpoints and beliefs of citizens. Emotional reactions often prevent reasoned and compromised alternatives.
In the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, political discourse has shifted to the proposition of arming school teachers with guns as a means of reducing the mortality rate of school-related shootings.People are still wondering if policymakers have considered the intricacies of implementing a plan to arm teachers!!
Laws vary from state to state regarding the criteria for purchasing and carrying a gun. in Florida the law also imposed a three-day waiting period for gun purchases and raised the age limit for buying rifles from 18 to 21 – remarkable measures in a gun-friendly state, opponents questioned whether the solution to gun violence should be the presence of even more guns and warned of the danger of a teacher misfiring during a crisis or police mistaking an armed teacher for the assailant.
The debate regarding arming teachers with weapons is still a huge topic to consider; every school in the United States has been on its toes with worry and nervousness. Many people agree with this idea by saying teachers have the right to protect their students and themselves if they carry a firearm in case of an incident However some teachers even think this is a huge responsibility for them, and it is not their primary job, they are there to educate. Putting guns in the hands of teachers could possibly lead to disastrous events if they are not careful.
Tragically as this article is being written, on may 7th 2019 just hours away, a mass shooting took place in Colorado not far from the tragic school shooting 20 years ago at Columbine High School. This recent gun tragedy at a school left one student dead and eight injured. Fortunately, police arrived within two minutes and engaged the suspects. There are also reports of student heroes who rushed the gunman to protect others. The student who was killed was part of this heroic effort.
The police arrived quickly but what if in those two minutes a teacher used a gun and the situation became complicated. What if police fired at the teacher? What if the teacher misfired and struck another student? The tragedy could have been worse, arming teachers at schools is a pretty serious decision to make it could risk a lot of lives.
In the end , did the lawmakers make a wise decision towards this case and does it help the teachers or does it make them further liable with a huge responsibility?