Okay, the following list is a bunch of excerpts I’ve taken from an Op-Ed in The Ambler Gazette, titled, “Another View: School Personnel Should Not Carry Guns” written by Sara Johnson Rothman of the Upper Dublin School Board.
Rothman wrote this a few weeks ago in opposition to a Pennsylvania bill, SB 383, that would give school boards the power to “establish a policy permitting school personnel access to firearms in the buildings or on the grounds of a school” for the purpose of the “protection and defense of pupils.”
As always I suggest you read her full response but for the sake of convenience I’ve pulled out the nuts and bolts and slapped on a title to each excerpt.
1. Scalia Endorsed It
Even the late US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a “Constitutional originalist” and ardent Second Amendment defender, understood that schools are sensitive places where guns may be lawfully forbidden.
2. Teachers Aren’t Hired Muscle
We ask a lot of our teachers. They are educators, mediators, counselors, referees… But, they should not be hired muscle with a firearm at their side. We need them practicing their craft not honing their sharpshooting skills at the gun range.
3. Safe Storage?
If guns are allowed in our schools, where would the guns be? Holstered in plain sight, tucked into a teacher’s pants, in a desk drawer, in a handbag, in the locked container in the classroom, in a cabinet in the front office?
4. Logistical Nightmare
And if an armed intruder or a disillusioned child came to the school with a gun, what would happen? Would the “teacher security force” all run to the office arsenal to grab guns while the school is on lockdown? No, because if the purpose of this law is for the “protection and defense of pupils,” keeping the guns locked up and difficult to access doesn’t allow for quick action.
5. Guns Don’t Make Us Safer… Google it.
It’s telling that the families of the Sandy Hook victims are not seeking to expand gun laws, but instead impose sensible restrictions. Guns should not be met with more guns, and certainly not in our schools. Guns do not make us safer. Those who claim otherwise are not just peddling a myth, but a lie. When guns are present, the risk of violence, injury, and death skyrocket. Google it.
Alright, now the fun part. We get to rebut her arguments point-by-point. Here are my counterarguments:
1. The Heller Decision states, “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited…The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
Well, she misses the point. The text of the decision at relates to gun bans is descriptive, not prescriptive. Scalia wasn’t endorsing gun-free zones but rather he was pointing out examples of where there have been limitations or restrictions on the 2A that have traditionally comported with the high court’s interpretation of the Constitution. While gun bans in certain instances may not be unconstitutional, that doesn’t mean they’re a smart idea.
2. Carrying a firearm and teaching algebra (or physics or U.S. history) are not mutually exclusive disciplines. A competent individual can do both at the same time without a hitch.
3. Oh, the humanity! My teacher’s gun is visible! So what? Rothman is making a common mistake in that she is becoming too focused on labels. Think about it. Fundamentally, she supports the idea of good guys with guns defending the public from bad guys with guns. In other words, she supports cops and security personnel. She just doesn’t like the idea of a “teacher” carrying a gun. Again, why can’t a teacher learn how to carry, learn how to shoot, learn how to identify a threat, learn how to de-escalate a situation? Are you telling me “teachers” are incapable of learning a new skill? Well, if that’s the case, what the heck are they doing teaching in the first place?
4. It’s called “planning.” And I know teachers have heard of planning because when I went to school teachers taught for half the day and then had the rest of the day to “plan.” Maybe if they took a little time during these precious “planning periods” and actually planned they’d come up with a process and procedure of what to do during an active shooter situation. How about this: Active shooter alert sounds. Teacher locks the door. Teachers draws gun (on person or from locked safe in classroom) while students barricade behind desks. Teachers and students wait behind barricade for instruction from authorities. Should a threat enter the classroom during that time, the teacher engages the threat. I don’t know about you but that plan sounds a lot better than waiting around to die.
5. Guns don’t make us safer… Yeah, I’ve “googled” this before and the reality is this, while the stats on guns and crime are complicated because there are many factors that influence crime what we do know is that following the expiration of the ban on black rifles in 2004 and the widespread adoption of pro-concealed carry laws around the country over the past few decades, violent crime, property crime and the homicide rate have all dropped. Yes, Americans have never been more armed and never more free to carry. The result? Crime is on the decline! So, if it’s true that, as Rothman alleges, when guns are present, “the risk of violence, injury and death skyrocket” why isn’t that reflected in the measurable statistics we have on crime? Why isn’t the murder rate skyrocketing?
Rathmon is the one parroting myths and lies. As I’ve noted in the past, those junk studies that claim violence, injury and death skyrocket when guns are present never account for whether the individual possessing the firearm was a prohibited person, e.g. felon, minor, drug addict, mental defective. When you put guns in the hands of those people, yes, bad things will happen. But that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about responsible, dedicated professionals. We’re talking about giving teachers a choice on whether they wish to have at their disposal a means to defend their lives and the lives of their students. Because whether Rothman wants to admit it or not, using force against force, gun against gun, is the best chance they have to walk away from an encounter with a spree killer.