By JOHN F. BANZHAF. Originally published at ValueWalk.
Arm Teachers, Not Necessarily With Guns; Many Pilots Are Armed; Bear Spray is Safe and Effective
Arming Selected And Specially Trained Teachers
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 25, 2022) – In the wake of the most recent mass school shooting in a Texas elementary school, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Senator Ted Cruz, Republican U.S. Senator from Texas, among others, have suggested that selected teachers who had been specially trained should be permitted to carry firearms to deter – and, if necessary, shoot – an armed intruder intent on mass murder.
Public interest law professor John Banzhaf made a similar suggestion more than four years ago, noting that commercial airline pilots are permitted – under the Arming Pilots Against Terrorist Act – to be armed even though they themselves are largely protected inside fortified cockpits. Apparently arming specially trained professions, who are not necessarily law enforcement officers is safe, since no intentional or even accidental shootings have occurred, he notes.
Arming a few selected and specially trained teachers would be particular important for rural schools where it may take law enforcement officers precious minutes before they can arrive after bring called.
Another major advantage is that – unlike most other measures now being discussed to reduce school shootings which require federal and/or state action – permitting or even encouraging selected teachers to be armed is something which can be done immediately without waiting for such long-delayed and not-very-likely legislative action, says the law professor, although there is another effective but non-lethal alternative.
Only a tiny minority of teachers would have to be armed to have a strong deterrent effect. Allowing a small unidentified minority of willing and trained teachers to carry concealed weapons might provide sufficient deterrence that many shootings would be prevented, rather than simply ended more quickly once they begin, While many potential school shooters may be prepared die ‘heroically’ at the hands of police, potential shooters may see little glory or honor in being shot down by old Mrs. Grundy who teaches 9th grade history. But, says Banzhaf, there’s also an alternative.
As the Washington Examiner reported in February 2018, Banzhaf suggested: “While most would agree that even a small, light, and easily concealed handgun is many times more likely to stop a student shooter, a highly irritating chemical able to stop a grizzly and capable of being sprayed 20 or more feet is far more effective than attacking an armed shooter with chairs, backpacks, or even computer cables as some have suggested.”
The Examiner also reported: “Banzhaf said that considering such a move is the least communities can do . . . ‘Simply trying to identify all teens who have a mental illness or defect which might become serious enough to lead them to shoot others might itself not be feasible, much less providing sufficient treatment, supervision, etc. to insure that it will not occur.”
Allowing Guns With CCW Permits
In 2018 Banzhaf wrote that not forcing teachers who already possess concealed carry weapon [CCW] permits to leave their guns behind when they enter their school could be an effective strategy, especially in rural communities where it may take 30 minutes or more for armed law enforcement officials to reach an active shooter scene, and where voters are more accepting of guns. At least 8 states already permit teachers under certain circumstances to carry firearms, and in another 6 legislation to permit the practice has already been introduced. His analysis also noted that:
“CNN, the Dallas News, and many other responsible media outlets have also held up Texas as a model showing that permitting some teachers to be armed can be done safety and effectively.
Banzhaf, noting that many teachers who might be reluctant to actually carry or use firearms or to employ deadly force, but who nevertheless might want to be able to protect themselves or their charges from a shooter if necessary, suggested that teachers and school administrators be permitted to carry defensive (Mace-like) spray devices, or at least have them available in a classroom.
After all, he argued, some are quite capable of stopping even an enraged grizzly bear, and of being projected more than 20 feet.
He now reports that several K-12 schools, colleges, and even religious organizations in Ohio have shown that self defense sprays can be a non-lethal alternative to guns in stopping or even just deterring an active shooter. Many use an especially intense law-enforcement strength of red pepper gel which projects up to 25 feet, and the canister which requires little in the way of aiming ability.
Interestingly, the red gel is designed to coat and cling to gas masks, goggles, or glasses, at least obscuring the vision of shooters who might try to protect themselves from conventional police tear gas, and keeping the strong irritant in very close proximity to their faces.
Since the devices are too big to be carried comfortably on one’s person, schools or even individual teachers can purchase the spray canisters from SafeZone enclosed in a small safe which can be bolted to a wall in a classroom. A teacher can open it easily by pushing a few buttons in the correct sequence; something which can be done even in the dark or if a teacher is temporarily blinded, able to use only one hand, etc.
Sign up for ValueWalk’s free newsletter here.