Wednesday, January 2, 2013

‘Armed Teacher Training Program’ Launches In 15 States

An Ohio gun owners’ group is launching an “Armed Teacher Training Program” to instruct teachers and school staff on how to shoot off firearms in the classroom.

Perhaps at the outlandish suggestion of the National Rifle Association, who last month called for armed guards in every school as a response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary, such programs are popping up around the country. In Ohio, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, along with a group called the Tactical Defense Institute, is crafting a curriculum specifically designed for teachers and school staff. A local Fox affiliate has details on who is signing up– they report that more than one third of the applicants are women, and that “more than half of the applicants work in high schools”:

As of Wednesday, the Armed Teacher Training Program has attracted more than 600 applicants from several states including Ohio, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and West Virginia.

“We knew this would be popular, but the response has exceeded out expectations,” said Jim Irvine, Chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation. “People doubted if we would fill the first class. That happened in hours. This is something many in our schools have been asking about for a long time.” [...]

“No one will be forced to be armed if they choose not to. The strategy is the same as ordinary concealed carry. No one will ever know who is or is not armed. Those who seek to do harm in schools should be met with armed resistance, even before law enforcement shows up. Over time, schools will no longer be considered easy, risk-free targets.”

Arming teachers is illogical. More guns in classrooms, inevitably, will lead to accidents and unintended harm. Shootouts between teachers and gunmen is unlikely to be a net positive for students. But moreover, doesn’t get to the heart of the issue. America’s gun violence epidemic is not limited to classrooms. Gun deaths are set to outpace motor vehicle accident deaths by 2015, and the victims are diverse: Women with abusive partners, couples caught in crossfire, teens caught up in gangs, men carjacked while driving down the street, women mugged walking home through the park. The list is endless. Even in a world where arming teachers is the best solution for preventing a tragedy like Sandy Hook, it offers no hope to victims of gun violence out in the rest of society.

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