Are teachers a bunch of gun nuts? Is this the root of a hidden conspiracy where school teachers are really the secret strength of the NRA? I doubt it. Fortunately, we have real data so we don’t need to rely on my opinion. Facts show that a surprisingly large percentage of teachers want to carry a firearm at school. The fraction of teachers who want to go armed is several times higher than the average concealed carry rate across the US. That makes sense once we dig into it.
The conventional talking point is that teachers don’t like guns. Unionized teachers are broadly considered to be more liberal than the general populace. The president of the National Education Association said, “Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence.” If guns are not the answer, then perhaps the teachers’ union president wants us to call animal control when a school is attacked. Most of us would call a good guy with a gun.
Union members are also reluctant to ask to do the work currently done by the members of another union. According to that meme, it is the job of the police to protect us, not armed teachers.
Unfortunately, it isn’t really the job of the police to protect us. Law enforcement gathers evidence for prosecution. Cops will arrest a suspect after they’ve built a case. The only time I can count on a cop to protect me is if I’ve hired an off duty police officer to work security for my private event.
A recent Gallup poll gives us some insights into what teachers think. The poll results are largely unsurprising. Most teachers don’t like guns. What is a surprise is that 18 percent of teachers would apply to take training and carry a firearm at work if their school district allowed it. 18 percent is certainly not a majority, but a majority of us don’t carry a concealed firearm in public either. On average, only 6 percent of adults have their concealed carry permits.
That means that teachers are about three times more eager than the average citizen to carry a firearm for personal protection. I doubt we’d have attacks on our schools if 1 out of 6 teachers were armed. Who knew, and I wish the news reports had included that perspective when the poll numbers came out.
Teachers are about three times more eager than the average citizen to carry a firearm for personal protection.
The teacher’s desire to go armed makes sense when we think about it. In general, gun control becomes more popular after a mass murder. We all want to save lives, and our first impulse is to consider another law. Seeing the opposite effect among teachers seems counterintuitive.
The teachers’ perspective makes sense. While most of us have a general interest in school safety, teachers have a particular interest. We both share our desire to protect students, but teachers will be on scene if a school is attacked. For teachers, school attacks are personal. Their response is personal as well.
…to which I say, “Thank you!” Every teacher I’ve talked to calls their students “my kids”. I love it that teachers want to protect “our kids”. I want teachers to save their own lives as well.
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
Image: CCO Creative Commons; Excerpted from: https://pixabay.com/en/woman-rifle-shoot-gun-weapon-2577104/