School districts in Nevada are talking about arming teachers. Most people who are opposed to concealed carry in schools are mostly concerned about the potential side-effects. What if a student disarms the teacher? What if the teacher fumbles the gun and negligently discharges? What if the teacher is a bad shot and wounds a bystander? The rest are simply vehement hoplopaths and don’t deserve a seat at the table; this goes for teachers’ unions, which are firmly entrenched in the tail-chasing sniff circle.
All too often, schools, colleges, and universities refuse to exercise their discretion in allowing responsible people to carry guns purely out of fear. No administrator wants to lose their job or cost their institution money. The time has passed for us to sacrifice our students’ lives over such petty fears as careers and budgets. We must implement the one practical solution that does hold promise; good guys with guns.
First, no one is talking about mandating all teachers carry guns. That is hype meant to discredit the idea of ending the long prohibition of letting teachers, parents, and staff fight back with the most effective means of doing so. For 29 years, teachers, professors, staff, college students, and parents have been disarmed because Clark County wanted a law to arrest gang members who brought guns on campus. Since very few Americans carried regularly at that time, no one thought to exclude law abiding adults from the ban.
After many tragedies, we are finally waking up to the reality that we must have people on campus who can fight back with guns; unfortunately, police cannot always be there and cannot be guaranteed to enter the fray. An armed teacher or parent can be in the thick of it and do some good. It would cost schools very little to simply stop objecting to campus carry laws or refusing permission to carry on campus.
Liability is probably the number one concern for administrators who might otherwise grant permission. Unfortunately, money and personal consequences override the safety of students. Its financially and career-wise safer to say “no guns” than to say yes.
Financially, school districts or the state should suck it up; even in Nevada, we give enough money to education that even if there were an increase in premium, it’s worth it to avert a mass killing. What would really be nice is for insurers to realize that risk isn’t going up and just leave premiums alone, but asking bean counters for this is like asking a personal injury attorney to get an honest job.
State law ought to require that insurers not use armed staff and parents as a basis for premium rating. If the legislature wants, they can really make life miserable for insurance companies. Second, for self-insured schools, absolve them of any liability by statute. Any misdeed by an armed teacher, staff member, or a parents is the individual’s problem. Money saved and one excuse gone.
Finally, solid decision making guidelines need to be set forth. Ideally, a simple change in law allowing concealed carry on campuses without prior approval would be the law. End of story, no one needs permission, so an administrator nervous about losing his job won’t be able to use that as an excuse to deny permission to carry. If we cannot get a simple bill passed, a bill should specify the exact conditions, as few as possible, to be satisfied and grant authority.
Discretion should be strictly limited. Have a concealed firearm permit? Meet any extra criteria? Permission is guaranteed under the law or shall-be given. The flaw in Florida’s new law is that it requires both school and sheriff’s permission; one or both can sink the ship. Anti-gun administrators or politicians can easily quash requests to carry. Children’s lives should not be at risk because a principal wants to virtue signal or is empty-headed about safety.
Secrecy needs to be paramount, and not just so would-be killers don’t know to target who first. Parents, teachers, and staff who have permission to carry should have their information shielded. This may need to be a part of state law. The current vague standards in place for K-12 schools allows a principal to grant permission in the form of a letter, a single copy, to the person, while retaining that information in their mind.
That would not be subject to a public records request. As we have seen in the past, unscrupulous reporters have created CCW databases. Democrat operatives or Everytown employees could do the same to shame teachers or administrators. One fear of administrators, from the colleges down, is that if they grant permission, they will be exposed ridiculed, disciplined, or even fired. We have to alleviate that concern.
As a side note, all “blue card” handgun registration information was public information. Until the database was destroyed, anyone could have requested specifics on what hands guns anyone in Clark County owned, including police.
Any additional training should be tactics and skill based. If legislators (in particular) or local officials want to add on additional training requirements, the curriculum should be uniform and practical. For instance, marksmanship requirements and an action-style shoot. Example:
Such criteria could be the responsibility of the Nevada Sheriffs and Chiefs Association, as the CFP and instructor criteria is, or DPS. This way, it is uniform across the state and something that can help reduce the fears that people might have that a poor shooter might hit an innocent student instead of the bad guy. Certainly prior law enforcement experience or being a veteran should not be a requirement to carry.
We cannot let misplaced feelings and ideas about guns and the law-abiding people who carry them stand in the way of our children’s safety any longer. Fear is not an acceptable excuse for taking no action to allow adults to carry at schools. Nor can we let a hodgepodge and subjective system for allowing teachers to defend themselves limit that right. Let no anti-gun organization masquerading as a gun safety group tell us our children are better off undefended.
Clayton E. Cramer
Gun Free Zone
The War on Guns
The View From Out West