Five Reasons to Support Gun-Free Zones in Schools

Signs at a pro-gun control protest following the mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. (Photo

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.

My Response

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.

The homicide rate declined sharply from 9.3 homicides per 100,000 in 1992 to 4.8 homicides per 100,000 in 2010. (Graph: DOJ)

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.

P.S. Not all the Sandy Hook families endorse gun control.

By Jeff Dege, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • DaveGinOly May 15, 2017, 8:58 pm

    “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.”

    We DO ask a lot of teachers. And on top of what we ask of them, we should not also ask that they surrender their own right to self-defense when they enter their workplaces.

  • Mongo May 12, 2017, 5:02 pm

    This lady is loonier than willie coyote…by her logic, there should be about 1 million deaths per year, because more and more people are becoming concealed carry responsible citizens. So the more guns, the more death, right? What a ditzy broad. If guns kill people, then all of mine are defective……

  • Dan Martin May 12, 2017, 12:53 pm

    In almost every school shooting the shooter is stoped by someone else with a gun. So it stands to reason that the sooner a defensive gun can be brought to the situation the more lives can be saved. I’m not saying all teachers should be armed, but there should be a few QUALIFIED teachers and staff that have access to guns. It would save lives if QUALIFIED personal had access to firearms in a matter of a miniute or two instead of 15miniutes, 10 miniutes, or even 5 miniutes when the police could arrive. You will notice I wrote QUALIFIED in capitals. That is because it is very important that the person handling a firearm know what they are doing and how to react in an emergency.

    • DaveGinOly May 15, 2017, 9:42 pm

      ALL teachers should learn firearms safety, how to safely handle and make a gun “safe” (as safe as they get), and how to put a pistol or revolver into action. Even if they don’t or aren’t allowed to carry firearms in the classroom, they need to be prepared for various situations in which this knowledge and skill set could be useful. What if they have to disarm a student, or a student finds and gun and brings it to a teacher (or brings the teacher to it). Shouldn’t the teacher now how to take control of the gun without putting others at risk? What if a teacher manages to wrest a gun from an active shooter? Shouldn’t he or she know how to use it against the attacker (who frequently carry more than one firearm)? Other scenarios can be imagined. Many of them, most I’d venture, involve making a firearm less dangerous, rather then using one in defense of life.

  • Science Teacher May 12, 2017, 11:31 am

    As a high school teacher, concealed carry license holder, and former infantryman, I was fully onboard with this article and was totally caught off guard by the completely unnecessary and condescending dig at teachers- “Maybe if they took a little time during these precious “planning periods” and actually planned “. Seriously? Teacher SHOULD be a critical part of your desired audience for a piece like this and you insult them? It’s a shame that you squandered a great opportunity to speak to those who could be a voice for a solution, all for an ignorant cheap shot .

    • Remo Orsini May 12, 2017, 12:31 pm

      Science teacher, I think that his thought was planning how to respond to a shooter

      • Ted May 14, 2017, 10:59 pm

        Of course that was his thought–it’s how he said it is how we teachers take issue.

    • Craig May 12, 2017, 6:02 pm

      I agree. It was a cheap shot and uncalled for. I have a lot of friends who are teachers and pro-gun.

    • Luke May 12, 2017, 11:16 pm

      Yeup. That was dumb alright.

    • Ted May 14, 2017, 10:58 pm

      As a carrying teacher, I agree. Let’s keep the shrapnel to the woman making the ignorant comments, not a snarky snipe towards teachers and their planning period, which by the way, is NOT a “half day” as stated. Try one hour, which is never enough time.

  • Mark May 12, 2017, 10:11 am

    I love the lady’s statement “Guns should not be met with more guns”…. Following that logic, the bad guys will still have guns, because bad guys don’t follow the laws, and face it, bad guys always seem to get the guns somehow. And when they show up at school to do bad things, her statement really means “Guns should be met with no effective resistance and death–probably YOUR death!” There is no alternative presented by her to change that. The “sound-bite”, feel-good solutions presented by the anti-gunners don’t ever solve the problem of bad people doing bad things. And until they do, it is left for those with conviction and determination to stop them by any means necessary when the need arises.

    • TheRon May 12, 2017, 12:36 pm

      If “guns don’t make us safer” then why does the elite ruling class protected by them, hired guns paid for by us, while they want to restrict or deny us the right and keep our children unprotected in legally-imposed”gun free zones”? Why do they violate “the equal protection of the laws” (14th Amendment) and keep for themselves what they take from others? Why don’t they remove their armed protection, like they do to our children and LEAD BY E AMPLE??

  • Michael Keim May 12, 2017, 9:22 am

    If gun control and gun free zones work why isn’t Chicago virtually murder free?

    • Steve G May 12, 2017, 11:45 am

      Where is the “like” button for this post???? Perfectly on point Michael Keim.

  • Oliver Klozzoff May 12, 2017, 7:53 am

    Funny how anti-gunners have no problem when a police officer enters the classroom to talk about safety, etc. Nobody freaks out when they see the handgun on his hip. But if an otherwise law-abiding civilian has a gun, “OMG!! He’s got a gun!!!” Personally, I favor concealed carry for a number of reasons, but there is no good reason why a properly trained (that would be very important IMHO) teacher or administrator couldn’t or shouldn’t be armed to protect their charges on school property. There are many concealed carriers out there who are much, much better shooters than LEOs who go to the range and fire off 50 rounds a couple of times a year to meet minimum standards.

  • John Larney May 12, 2017, 3:55 am

    Very few take issue with armed police Resource Officers on school grounds. Encourage teachers to become reserve or auxiliary police officers during summers, weekends and holidays. A select few teachers in each school would then be state certified, experienced police officers. Undercover officers routinely carry concealed every day and so could the teachers. Secure locking holsters and weapons retention training should alleviate some concerns. These teacher-officers would be assigned to classrooms geographically to reduce response time. Local police departments would develop tactical and recognition protocols for responding officers to recognize the armed teachers . Many teachers work 2nd jobs so why not earn that other income as a police officer?

  • Chrhu May 9, 2017, 2:27 pm

    I like example 4 as her complaint is the same complaint pro gunners give against storage laws for in-home use. What good would it do anyone if the firearm is stored away someplace inaccessible when you need it. Wonder if she has that same view on home storage or if she’s all for those guns being locked up and unavailable.

  • SuperG May 9, 2017, 10:28 am

    Thomas Paine, writing to religious pacifists in 1775:

    “The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them; the weak would become a prey to the strong.”

    • DaveGinOly May 15, 2017, 9:56 pm

      In the religious vein, can you see the Supreme Court saying that there are places where you must leave your right to your religion at the door? Or can you imagine Muslims being told they can’t wear traditional clothing in public because it causes alarm and fear? Of course not! So why do we tolerate such opinions when it comes to any of our other rights? No rights are limited or can be limited by government. The felon has had his rights taken from him by the judgement of his peers. The minor hasn’t reached his or her majority. People who intentionally, or through gross negligence, harm others are committing crimes, not exercising a right. Any unlawful act can’t, by definition, be the exercise of a right. Rights can only be exercised lawfully, and therefore require no “limits” imposed by government.

      This is where the wag asks, “Do you have a right to a nuclear weapon for self-defense?” And this is when I respond, “If you can imagine a scenario in which a nuclear weapon may be deployed in self-defense, without harming innocent people, then in that scenario, the answer would be ‘Yes.'” If you’re right to your own life were not absolute, there would be no such thing as the use of lethal force for lawful self-defense. The very fact that you can take a life to preserve another exists because of a fundamental belief that innocent people cannot be required to surrender their lives to felonious predators. How can this belief be held while simultaneously believing that the tools necessary (in many situations) to effectuate lawful self-defense may be prohibited to potential victims?

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