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Opinion – Arming teachers: a step backwards

by Erin Anderson

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The school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month has sparked a nation-wide conversation over gun violence in schools. Top government officials, including President Trump, believe that arming teachers in the classroom is a step in the right direction, but is it really a step backwards?

Gun violence is nothing new in the United States of America, but shootings have reached a new high in the 21st century. In 2018 alone, there have already been 18 school shootings, and it’s only March.

Why are we still having this debate? Countries all over the world have already made laws and taken safety precautions and have not had the multitude of mass shootings that occur in the U.S. How are they making it work and we aren’t?

Many nations require all guns to be registered, and some only allow guns to be used for specific activities. In Canada, for example, guns can only be used for target shooting and hunting. Some nations have higher minimum ages for gun ownership; Brazil requires one to be at least 25 to own a gun.

In the U.S., however, people are still allowed to carry handguns without a permit in some states. Most gun buyers are subject to a background check, but not everyone who has a gun has undergone a background check.

The Second Amendment is also a big issue. Many believe that tightening gun laws is a violation to this amendment, and a restriction of their rights as Americans. Others believe that the amendment does not apply to the current times, and that we should take the current society into consideration.

Ever since the recent school shooting in Florida, people have again been voicing their concerns for the safety of the children in America. President Trump believes that he has found a solution: arm teachers in schools with guns.

Instead of raising the age of gun ownership as was discussed last month, the Trump Administration has decided that giving school teachers guns is the smartest solution. Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, has stated that not all teachers will be required to have a gun, only the teachers who volunteer and go through training.

The idea was first voiced right after the shooting in Florida and was quickly met with criticism. But, now it seems that the government would rather back this plan than propose something that would hurt the National Rifle Association (NRA) an organization that financially backs many members of Congress.

Guns are dangerous; there’s no doubt about that. If you don’t know how to handle one, you can seriously endanger yourself and others. Stories of children who have accidentally grabbed a hold of their parent’s gun and shot either themselves or others are told too often.

Should we trust that children in the classroom won’t just come across the gun and start fiddling with it, causing it to go off? Children are curious, and little children are even more so. Even potentially armed adult teachers won’t be immune to rookie mistakes or accidents as new gun handlers.

The solution isn’t more guns. If we want our children and our society to be safe, we should ensure that guns are nowhere near them. If it’s a problem about safety, non-lethal weapons can always be used, like tasers.

Putting more guns in the classroom is just putting more people at risk. If there are no restrictions up, school shootings will become even more common. What happens if a gunman does come into a school? The teacher would shoot them right back, and bullets would fly and endanger the children even more.

There are laws restricting guns in public places all over the country, including many political gathering places. If politicians don’t believe guns should be in their own environment, why should they be around children? They aren’t thinking about the safety and well-being of the rest of the country; they’re simply thinking of what would benefit them the most.

If this country truly wants to move forward, we should follow in the footsteps of other nations and pass more laws restricting lethal weaponry. It’s the only way to put a halt to shootings and promote safety. Putting more guns in schools will only worsen the situation and lead the country down a darker path.

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