What do you think of allowing teachers to carry guns in school?

A state lawmaker plans to introduce legislation that would allow teachers to carry guns in Minnesota schools. Rep. Tony Cornish says arming staff members would help prevent attacks like the Sandy Hook shootings in Connecticut. (The NRA on Friday proposed posting armed guards in schools.) Today’s Question: What do you think of allowing teachers to carry guns in school?

  • reggie

    I think it is one of the most dangerous of many dangerous and utterly stupid ideas to come out of the tragedy in Newtown. More weapons is not the answer to too many weapons already in circulation. Teachers should be teaching and caring for their students, and not be distracted by the substantial amount of time it would take to train to use a weapon effectively. Weapons in any workplace except a police station is a bad idea.

  • John

    Yes, Teachers should carry, it works! Gun Free Zones are an invite to mass murder.

  • www.gordoncstewart.com

    This idea borders on insanity. There’s no other way to say it.
    The idea that arming teachers would contribute to school safety is like arguing that priests should carry weapons at mass because someone in the congregation might have exercised his/her right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. A priest with a pistol would not likely stop a shooter who entered the church bent on shooting into the congregation. A teacher in a school might be able to stop an intruder, but s/he could also be wrestled to the ground, stripped of the weapon the legislation permitted, and used on the classroom without outside intrusion as at Sandy Hook.
    We think to think twice and three times and four before we rally behind legislators who want to fix a problem by the same means that created it in the first place. America is already armed to the teeth. And the fact remains, in spite of the horror of Sandy Hook, that schools are among the safest places to be in America, safer than driving on the highway. If anything, there should be legislation that models U.S. federal law on the basis of the Japanese model of an intense process before permission is granted to own a gun. I know of no minister, rabbi, priest or imam who carries a gun to worship. I know not teacher who wants permission to carry a gun into the classroom. See All Things Considered’s guest commentary yesterday’s on the Greek theater, the American theater of the absurd, the idolatry of safety as America’s fatal flaw.

  • Keith

    No, no, a thousand times no! This has got to be one of the stupider ideas stemming from this whole shooting incident. So now it will be a requirement that, along with student teaching, etc., teachers will also need to be range-certified??? Let me put it this way – what teacher would want to be put in the position where a poor decision on their part results in the accidental shooting of a student while supposedly defending them against some school intruder?

  • Steve the Cynic

    No! It would be one more thing to burden overworked teachers with, distracting them from their main responsibility. If our collective anxiety moves us to demand that some school personnel be armed, let it be the custodians, or else post actual cops at the school.

  • Bill

    Teachers should be allowed to defend themselves with guns.
    If there’s someone present with a gun when a mass shooting begins, the shooter is likely to be shot himself. And, in fact, many mass shootings, from the high school shooting by Luke Woodham in Pearl, MI., to the New Life Church shooting in Colorado Springs, CO, where an armed volunteer shot the attacker, have been terminated when someone retrieved a gun from a car or elsewhere and confronted the shooter.
    Policies making areas “gun free” provide a sense of safety to those who engage in magical thinking, but in practice, of course, killers aren’t stopped by gun free zones. As always, its the honest people, the very ones you want to be armed, who tend to obey the law.

  • Sue de Nim

    Arming teachers would make school shootings more likely. Instead of having to smuggle weapons into the school as they did at Columbine, a couple of disgruntled teenage boys could just wrestle the gun away from a teacher and start blasting away.

  • J

    There have been 151 victims of mass shootings (so far) this year (from motherjones.com). On average 10-15 people are killed a day by guns. Americans own 200+ million guns including many conceal and carry permits. Apparently these millions of guns in private hands haven’t been able to stop any of these murders, so where is the logic that states more guns is the answer?

    The answer is what happened in Australia after a mass shooting in 1996. Quote from the Washington Post:

    “[H]omicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides. The drop in suicides by gun was even steeper: 65 percent. Studies found a close correlation between the sharp declines and the gun buybacks. Robberies involving a firearm also dropped significantly. Meanwhile, home invasions did not increase, contrary to fears that firearm ownership is needed to deter such crimes. But here’s the most stunning statistic. In the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there had been 11 mass shootings in the country. There hasn’t been a single one in Australia since.”

    But, alas finding a politician with spine to enact something like this is like … whatever.

  • Jim G

    So today, according to some, the world is supposed to end. We are also being asked to consider whether teachers and principals should carry guns in their elementary schools. Both of these ideas can be quickly categorized as lunacy.

    When I was on my district’s staff development team we helped
    our teachers sharpen their skills: making them more effective. Some of these skills were lesson design, classroom management, student motivation and reinforcement, and parent -teacher conferencing skills. Never once did we consider handgun proficiency as a skill we wanted our teachers to acquire. Why not? We would have been laughed out of the room. It’s a crazy idea.

    Teachers and schools are not only being asked to teach
    academic skills, but have over the decades also been forced to take on roles that parents and society as a whole used meet. Sorry, on this one the answer is a definitive –NO. No, we can’t and won’t take on the role of armed guards.Schools teach kids, and the Police protect citizens. It’s lunacy to mix the two.

  • John

    The question is ALLOWING teachers to carry guns in school.

    YES, we should ALLOW people to protect themselves and the students if needed. Obviously if someone feels uncomfortable handling a gun, they shouldn’t have one. But if someone (teacher) wishes to go through hand gun use and safety training (which is required for conceal and carry permits) they should be ALLOWED. It would make the killer think twice and there are many situations not mentioned in the news media where guns have stopped killers.

  • Gary F

    Sure, it the person wants to, gets a carry permit, and gets permission from the school administrators. I’d also recommend some additional training which now some Twin Cities carry instructors will give teachers for FREE.

    I don’t think there will be huge amount of people that want that responsibility, but some will.

    I’d even like it for schools to tell parents, if asked of course, if there were any teachers or school employees that were carrying. I don’t want to know who, I don’t think they should release the names, but I bet more people would want someone to be legally carrying in their schools.

    “I feel safer in gun free zones because criminals aren’t allowed to use guns in them. That’s the way it works, right?”

    Gun free zones just mean that the sheep will get killed by the wolves because there are no sheep dogs.

    Gun free zones don’t make me feel safe.

    • GregX

      Free fire zones in schools are pretty much the exact worst thing you can do.
      Police get extensive training in close quarters weapons fire exchange and still … bad outcomes occur. And the train regularly. Teachers just aren’t gonna be proficient enough to serve that role with any certainty that the schools insurance will cover.
      One teacher kills, inadvertently, one kid and you can pretty much financially ruin a school district and its community.

      • georges

        Any successful lawsuit could ruin a school district. And should. The parents of the dead children should sue this school district for doing nothing to protect their boys and girls. A suit that wins large amounts for damages would push other districts to do the right thing….hire competent, well trained armed guards.

  • Noelle

    I think it’s just plain silly. There is an incredible amount of responsibility that comes with carrying a firearm, and in the event that you actually need to USE it, there are very serious consequences – even if you used it lawfully or in self-defense. The consequences would be even more severe for a teacher. Teachers have enough responsibilities – firearm training and self-defense knowledge is NOT something we need to add to their plates. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

  • David

    If the teachers carry, the kids will carry.
    Teach only peace.

  • Justin

    Yes they should be allowed!

    No one should be forced to have a gun but given at least the choice to be trained and protect themselves and the children.

    They obviously shouldn’t allow the students to carry, unless in post high school, and they have a permit to carry.

  • Mary

    It’s a ridiculous, reactionary idea. Our teachers have enough responsibility as it is. The teachers I know abhor the idea.

  • David P.

    What message would this send to children, to teachers, to parents? That you need to be armed and ready to kill/die at any time? How can a child learn in a climate of fear? How can a teacher teach with a gun on their hip and a class full of terrified children? Can you imagine the liability issues for the school? Let’s look at the ugly truth, address the core, and stop with the denial.

  • GregX

    Schools can’t get enough money to cover basic repairs, library and computer resources and a host of other issues and problems resolved. Adding on the cost of initiating and maintaining the level of training necessary to keep teachers proficient ( similar to police) in close quarters fire exchange hand gun training just isn’t feasible.

    In addition,
    – the increased insurance cost for the district wouldn’t be cheap.
    – the changes to the teacher contract to enable this capability would cost the public ( insurance, self-training, mock drills in school facility, roles and responsibility documenting, attorney’s for post-shooting incidents … )

    Its just a bad idea with no real value. Sort of like building the 10,000 year flood dike around a town… the cost is prohibitive for the initial protection provided and … if you don’t spend more than that same amount of money over the “service-life” of the promise .. it falls apart and fails when you do need to exercise it.

    the cheaper and more reliable solution is data that the police can use : (1) Federal gun registry – for all existing guns and any new purchases (2) Federal gun owner license and registry – valid across state lines (3) ONLY allow sales or gifts of guns between federally licensed gun owners and or federally licensed gun dealers (4) ONLY allow physical transfer of weapons AFTER they transfer is registered in the Federal gun registry.

    • Noelle

      Yes, yes, and yes. #3 especially – no more gun show loopholes where any joe schmoe can walk in with cash and buy a gun.

  • GregX

    the NRA – Wayne LaPierre is blaming video-games and everyone else but… the NRA lobbing and policies.

    If you belong to the NRA – call them up and give them the dope slap they need.

  • Carenamel

    Give ’em hell, Wayne. Keep telling them the truth, even though they are not mature enough to handle it.

  • Paul

    I had to stop listening to MPR during the press conference the NRA was giving. I just can’t fathom, for the love of any God, how can the solution for mass killings be arming more people. Our schools are suppose to be the place where the next generation learns to live in peace with an evermore connected world. What are we saying to our kids when we want to arm everybody? that guns are the only solution?

    I know this has nothing to do the 2nd amendment but with the gun industry, just look at their sales and profits.

  • Gary F

    Looks like the nation will need to discuss the pro’s and con’s of this issue. This is something we shouldn’t rush into until it has been properly vetted and discussed.

    • GregX

      federal gun registry can be enacted immediately – know where every gun is and who is in possession of it. Mandatory annual renewal required to show active management

      Federal gun owner license (while retaining the federal gun dealer license) – to own or possess a gun.

      No transfer of weapons unless it is between licensed owners or dealers, and no physical transfer of guns until the exchange is publicly visible in the registry.

      these can be done without infringing on the ownership issue nor the definition of what can be or can’t be owned.

      Polkice need data, as do communities & this is the low hanging fruit – start the data collection on who, where and how guns are existing and moving in our society.

      • Gary F

        “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

        Yep, take away people rights during a “crisis”.

  • S. Adams

    One of the main issues that I haven’t heard discussed much is that this is being offered as a solution, but it is a “last step in the system” solution. It’s a bit like telling a diabetic, “don’t worry about blood glucose checks, preventative foot care, or eating healthy-if your foot has a problem down the line, we can just amputate it”. By the time another shooting has begun, you have already failed to prevent the drastic action you have now required.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Another downside of teachers being armed is that it normalizes the threat of violence as a way of keeping control. The ubiquity of guns in our society makes using guns less unthinkable for disturbed young men.

  • Gary F

    If a teacher wants to they can. No one said they would force teachers to.

  • Philip Benson

    Some thoughts on the subject:
    *Beware of emotional decision-making overruling logic.
    *I’ve no teacher to check my math, but does 25 gunned down per week in US pop of 314,000,000 = 0.04% chance of being gunned down if live to be 100?
    *Madness can come to anyone. Pressures and disappointments can overwhelm anyone. Instead of throwing an eraser at a hated student, the probability of a hero wannabe going mad and shooting a student is not zero.
    *We cannot legislate utopia, but we can recommend it. I don’t recommend guns, but I do believe the free & tolerant have fewer reasons to go mad.

  • Denny

    A program like this is simply about image and deterrence. Stop the focus on teachers and post a sign that says “Selected School Staff Armed and Trained.” Carry would be concealed and nobody but staff would know who was armed and trained. Once this was publicized no shooter would enter. They always choose soft targets.

  • CarlS

    It makes me sigh. The notion is such a simplistic, knee-jerk reaction to the shooting. Has it come to this? How about arming pastors and other religious leaders, like at Sikh temples? How about arming the ushers and popcorn guy in theaters?

    This is not the ‘wild west’. We have trained law enforcement organizations specifically to avoid a society of gun toting citizens.

    • georges

      No, carlS………no law enforcement group was ever organized with the specific intent of relieving the individual citizen of his responsibility to protect himself. The very idea is absurd. To accomplish such a silly goal, the government would have to hire half the population to shadow the other half, one on one, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Needless to say, it can’t be done. Not even close. Have you ever been in a situation where a criminal has broken into your home with intent to do you harm? I have. The first thing you realize is that no cop is anywhere in the vicinity, and the only person that can help you get out of the jam you are in is……..you. It is at that point that you are glad you have a firearm in your hand…….or, sad that you don’t.

  • Christian McGuire

    Has anyone really thought this through? Not every would-be hero is as good (in virtue or in shot) as Lucas McCain. If a teacher is allowed to carry a gun, does that teacher have enough tactical knowledge let alone marksmanship to stop a heavily armed intruder? Poliice officers themselves have difficult in descalation.

    It would be great if we could do something about 1) the number of guns available, 2) basic Coping Skills and appropriate resolution (let alone mental health), 3) History! – There is a wrongheaded belief about what the 2nd Ammendment is actually about. This wrong-headed- unhistorical belief was upheld by Supreme Court in the 2008 DC vs. Heller case.

  • CarlS

    PS – This reminds me of an ‘All In The Family’ episode where Archie suggested that the solution to a hijacker bringing a gun on an airplane was to arm all the passengers. It got a big laugh then, yet now, some 40 years later, similar notions are given serious consideration. Is this how far we’ve come?

  • Suzanne

    How many teachers would even WANT to be armed? Ridiculous question and the dumbest idea I’ve heard in ages.

  • Ann M

    That is one thing that we could try. Security people ride public buses. Many employees need cards to enter their places of employment. Laws don’t prevent bad behavior. The threat of being caught is the only thing that keeps some people in line. Also, our society should accept the fact that people are not always “happy,” There should be places that people can go when they are upset.Alcoholics have AA. But there are also other people who need help or someone to talk to. Friends can’t always provide the understanding support that a person needs.

  • Jeff

    NRA proposal of having armed guards at school as one of the many feasible solutions but I don’t think it is the best solution. Not to mention, arming teachers in school is not a good idea at all. Much riskier option than armed guard as teachers will not be as adequately trained. Not to mention, how do we screen the teachers with all the limited funding that we have right now? Why not provide more funding through federal or state budget on security measure at school such as secured doors with bullet proof windows and locked during school hours? I don’t believe banning “assault weapon” is a value added solution. If anyone wants to hurt someone, they will find a way.

  • Mary

    No. Teachers are trained to teach, not kill. Guns in schools would be extremely dangerous, just as they are in homes, shopping malls, move theaters, etc. The answer is fewer guns, no assault weapons or high capacity magazines, longer and more thorough background checks, and more mental health funding. I work in a school and find the idea of arming teachers and administrators to be appalling.

  • Sue de Nim

    On the broader question of gun violence, I want to challenge the assertion that this is a mental health issue. Gun violence is a spiritual health issue. It’s very rare for a mental illness to cause a person to be more violent than he or she would otherwise be, and this demonization of the mentally ill will only make the stigmatization worse and further dissuade people from getting the help they need.

  • Daryl

    I taught high school for ten years, and would never have felt safer knowing one or more of my colleagues was armed. Anyone with a gun stands a chance of losing it to someone. Guns don’t belong in schools.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    If it wasn’t so sick, I would laugh at the idea of arming teachers. The NRA long ago lost connection with the common sense of the average American gun owner when it supported the legalization of armor piercing bullets, and continues its whacko rhetoric today with its latest statements.

    Folks, including avid gun owners like myself, should realize that the NRA is more about promoting the gun industry (who generously donates to the NRA) than it is about protecting the Right to Bear Arms. As the number of hunters continues to decline, military type assault weapons have filled in the vacancy, marketed to mostly suburban white guys for “self-defence” or “sport shooting”.

    While recreational semi-automatic weapons certainly pre-date me, in the past no civilian had those guns with magazines that held dozens or even a hundred rounds. Large magazines are designed for warfare where the goal is to kill people. A ban and buy-back of large-capacity magazines would go a long way toward limiting the kill potential of criminals and mental defectives. Arming classroom teachers is absolutely idiotic.

  • djl1962

    Minnesota’s carry law already allows guns in schools with permission of the administration.

  • http://twitter.com/DougNEMPLS Doug Duwenhoegger

    Surely the NRA subscribes to Maslow’s Law of the Instrument. “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

  • Rich

    Up until Friday morning, December 14, Adam and Nancy Lanza were among the NRA’s “good guys with a gun.”

    Basically the NRA has decided to take themselves out of the discussion. So now legislation will not involve them. Seems like an unwise move to me, politically

  • Emanuel

    The problem is not only in schools,it is every where ,it is better to go over and work for a new policy.His solution specially at this moment of grief , shows who these guys are .Irresponsible and shameful and I say NO !

  • georges

    Seems like alot of the people responding to this question are reading it as “requiring” teachers to carry, instead of “allowing” teachers to carry, as it says.
    The answer is, allow, yes. Require, no. Most teachers would be worse than useless with big iron on their hips. On the other hand, those teachers who are ready, willing and ABLE, should not be denied the opportunity to serve the public good.

  • Dave

    No, let’s just continue to teach our kids to be helpless victims. Get rid of one the English as a 2nd language teachers and use the saved funds to properly train and arm 2 or 3 current employees in each school. Could be teachers, custodians, principals, etc. The students would not know who the carriers are.

    No law will stop bad people from continuing to do horrible things. Dead heroes like the principal at Sandy Hook do not save lives.

    These folks can all be in place by the beginning of the school year next year.

  • SteveP

    The __ vast majority of murders__in the U.S. are indeed committed with handguns, not rifles. More people were killed with shotguns (373), knifes/blades (1,704) and “other weapon[s]” (1,772) more often than they were with rifles in 2010, which were reportedly used in 358 murders that year. Gang shootings had the most numbers.

    Whether it’s a knife, gun or a fist, will a “ban” of any kind sway a deranged individual’s decision to take human lives? Drunks use cars to kill, so do we ban cars or insist a car made weighs under 400 lbs and at speeds below 10 mph? Stadiums are secure so why not provide safety for our kids? and for god’s sake, WHY did the president refuse to sign the two bills for Secure Schools funding bill last year? Can’t keep our Embassy people safe (Benghazi,Libya murders) and he can’t fund a bill to keep our schools safe_but instead, he has the time to worry about taxing highly successful business owners to pay all of 9 days of our country spending. . Hypocrisy at its best_ he is in HA spending $320,000 of tax money for his warm 2 week vacation while Stanton iIland Americans still are homeless and cold. Shameful and typical Progressive crap_ spend others money and live off the pork. You Go, Mr. Chicago Grassroots Organizer without a clue. Even Biden would do better.

  • yoderthesheepherder

    It wasn’t a serious or realistic suggestion and should not be treated as such.

  • Regnar James

    Yes, If they are trained and are willing to defend my


  • Steve T

    The NRA walked into the press conference, released some noxious flatulence and giggled as they walked out. The “proposal” was not meant to be serious. It was supposed to be a distraction, and it obviously worked like a charm.

  • Wally

    It was the first thing I thought of after recovering from the anger and sadness hearing of another school shooting. Even the idiot NRA only wants to see armed guards in schools. A lot of innocent people can die by the time the guard shows up. And how many hate-filled fools who want their name to go viral will try to shoot up a school when they know an armed staff member may likely stop them shortly after they start?