by WorldTribune Staff, February 27, 2018
Eight states currently allow teachers to carry guns at school and six others are considering legislation to do so.
Texas, Kansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming allow teachers to carry at school while Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Maryland, and Oklahoma are considering allowing school personnel carry weapons, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing the Education Commission of the States.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Feb. 24: “Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again – a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States.”
Politico noted in a Feb. 24 report that Texas lawmakers in 2013 approved a “school marshals” program in which schools “can designate one marshal for every 400 students, or one per building in schools that don’t have that many students. Marshals go through a series of background checks and psychological evaluations and undergo the same active shooter training as police – an 80-hour program created by the same state agency that enforces standards for law enforcement. And they do that every two years.”
The full process in Texas costs between $5,000 and $7,000 per marshal, the report said, adding that school districts are allowed to offer marshals a bonus.
The number of school marshals in Texas is not known as “it is a secret force,” the Politico report said. “The few districts that are thought to have authorized them typically won’t even say they have done so – so gunmen can’t target them. Students don’t know if their teacher is a marshal. Neither do parents. It’s based on the theory of secret flight marshals – which Trump has also referenced.”
George Washington University public interest law professor John Banzhaf told Washington Examiner columnist Paul Bedard that the states which allow teachers to carry “provide a model of a system like Trump has called for.”
Banzhaf “has suggested that teachers who already have a concealed carry weapon permits be allowed to voluntarily carry their guns in school or arm themselves with mace-like bear spray used by hunters,” Bedard wrote on Feb. 25.
That, Banzhaf said, “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.”
Bedard noted that “some schools, government buildings and even churches are taking the step of providing powerful pepper spray guns that have been shown to stop attackers cold, a potential non-lethal backup system that has national applications.”
Meanwhile, Bedard noted, a company called Alternative Defense Strategies LLC reported it has produced “a successful pepper gel deterrent called Safe Zone CM that is being used in in Ohio schools, government buildings, doctor’s offices and churches.”
Safe Zone “puts a powerful, law enforcement strength pepper gel canister in locked cabinets and mobile sling bags that can be strategically placed throughout any facility so it’s in reach if violence breaks out. With 16 ounces of pepper gel that projects up to 25 feet, operators can blast multiple people, if needed, and it requires only gross motor skills to hit the target,” a company spokeswoman said.