The State Of Kentucky Is Actually Considering Arming Its Teachers

by Christina Marfice
Image via Bu Luqing/EyeEm/Getty Images

Kentucky thinks putting more guns in schools will actually help stop shootings

There are a lot of differing opinions out there about what will stop the epidemic of school shootings in the United States (even though it’s actually perfectly clear, because there are measures that work in every single other developed country on the planet). But even though we continue to disagree as a nation about what gun control measures will work, can we at least come together on one thing: that arming teachers is not the answer? No? Ugh.

Just weeks before the Parkland, Florida shooting that killed 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a shooting at a rural school in Kentucky killed two and injured 18. Can we pause for a minute and talk about how a school shooting in which 20 people got shot was hardly a blip on our media radar? That’s infuriating enough, but how Kentucky is responding to it may be even more so. The state’s governor and legislature have stated that they won’t support any sort of gun control measures. Instead, they’ve introduced a bill that would allow teachers to carry guns at school.

Republican state Sen. Steve West admits that it’s not going to stop every school shooting. Yet, he thinks this will help.

“It increases that kid’s chances of surviving. And if there is someone there with a weapon, they will be able to take down the assailant, or at least calm the situation,” he told NPR.

Yes, because nothing calms an active shooter situation like another person pulling out a gun.

In the Kentucky bill, teachers’ weapons would be stored in a lockbox somewhere on campus at all times, except during an active shooter situation, which would be the only time teachers would be permitted to use them. Somehow, Kentucky lawmakers think that during a shooting, teachers will be able to get to a lockbox in some other part of the building, retrieve their weapons and then subdue the shooter. They also seem to think this is somehow different from having armed school resource officers on campus — there were armed guards both at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and at Marshall County High School, where the Kentucky shooting took place. In neither case did the SRO use a weapon or stop the shooter.

There are infinite reasons why arming teachers is the wrong response to school shootings, not the least of them being that even highly trained law enforcement officials have been shown to shoot with only 18 percent accuracy in high-stress situations. Let’s add to that the fact that a teacher’s job is to teach kids, not to be trained and armed to kill. Teachers are overworked and underpaid as it is; now imagine adding the stress of knowing that there may one day arise a situation in which they are expected to shoot and kill a person. Can we really not see why this is all kinds of wrong?

Oh, and Kentucky isn’t the only state that’s seriously considering this as a solution. Similar legislation is gaining traction in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and South Carolina.

America, 2018.