Teachers Bearing Arms

Should teachers have to carry guns in the classroom?


Staff Editorial

The United States is facing a deadly epidemic. Innocent children and adults alike are losing their lives to a national issue that lawmakers can’t agree on how to solve.

Columbine, Red Lake, Sandy Hook, and most recently Rancho Tehama: these are just a few examples of the recurring issue in the past 20 years. Everyone agrees that these shootings need to stop. What we disagree on is what exactly we should do to halt these needless murders. One controversial solution has risen lately: should we arm our teachers?

“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun,” says Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association’s executive vice president. His comment has gained a lot of attention, both from those supporting it and those who find it completely absurd. The argument here is that if we give our teachers guns, then they will be able to stop any threat from ever arising.

Oregon law states clearly, that any individual who has qualified for a concealed carry permit has the right to carry a firearm into any public space as stated in ORS 166.370. These public spaces include schools, meaning that any teacher who has qualified for a concealed carry permit has the legal right to bring their firearm into the classroom. Though, according to the Oregon School Board Association it should be said that the employers of these teachers has the right to deny any sort of firearms in school.

Some of our leaders would say this is how we protect our classrooms, giving our trusted teachers the weapons necessary to protect those who can’t protect themselves. However, is arming our teachers really the answer to stop these shootings? Some think yes. However, in one of the most infamous shootings of our time, an armed guard failed to stop the shooters. On April 20, 1999, Columbine, Colorado, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered their high school and killed 15 people and injured 23. An armed security guard was on duty that day. Through no fault of his own, the guard, even with a firearm, failed to stop the shooters.

The solution to ending violence doesn’t include violence. The solution is to stop the incidents from happening in the first place. This doesn’t necessarily mean banning guns altogether, as some government officials might suggest. But the solution isn’t arming our teachers either.

Other things can be done to prevent shootings. These killers are often not mentally sound; they are tormented souls. We need to figure out what drives these people to commit such atrocities. If it is mental illness, efforts should be made to reach out to those who need help before they turn to these horrible, violent acts. And if it is not mental illness we need to figure out what drives these people, but the answer is not weapons in the classroom.

If we solve the problems before they happen, there won’t be a need for guns in the classroom. Giving our teachers guns would be fighting fire with fire when we could just take the matches away.