It all started with a tweet from the Sheriff of Butler County, Ohio, and it seemed like a simple enough idea. How about free concealed carry classes for teachers in public schools?
I am going to offer free concealed and Carry class free 2 teachers in butler county. Limited number. Details coming soon on line. Also training on school shootings.
— Richard K. Jones (@butlersheriff) February 18, 2018
Gun control advocates probably view this as being rather tasteless in the wake of the Florida school shooting, but really… when would the correct time be? If the resources don’t exist to put armed security guards in all the schools, something needs to be done. But the question is, would teachers want to go for it? As reported by the local Fox News outlet, the demand for such classes may quickly outstrip the supply.
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said in a tweet Sunday training will be free.
Interest is so high, 250 teachers signed up in less than 24 hours, he said early Tuesday. “We have 250 and growing fast. We will start training fast, next week,” he said.
The outspoken sheriff said the time has come to arm educators. “I believe that school teachers should be taught how to deal with guns, when guns come to the classroom,” he said.
“What guns can do when they come to the classroom, and if the school boards want to give the authority to teachers to be armed. The school boards can do that, they have the authority to do it, but I’m going to do my part, and I assume I’m probably the only one in the state of Ohio that’s doing that – but something has to happen.”
Sheriff Jones has been both vocal and proactive on this subject all week. He previously sent letters to both Ohio Governor John Kasich and President Trump asking for their support in his initiatives. Basically, we’re looking at three different proposals, each of which deserves a quick look.
The first idea is arming teachers. As long as they’re interested in volunteering and not being forced to carry, that’s a solid plan providing the proper precautions are taken. In addition to basic safety and marksman training, you can’t risk a weapon getting loose in the school. Some students coming from unstable home situations or suffering from mental illness might see that as an opportunity to grab a firearm when they may not otherwise have access to one and start shooting. Teachers who carry need to keep direct control of their firearms at all times and be ready to prevent a student from forcibly taking it away. But with the right precautions in place, a teacher could put a rapid end to a mass shooting scenario.
The Sheriff’s next idea involves arming retired police and military veterans to guard schools. This is an opportunity for the community to step in and cover situations where the government can’t (or won’t) summon the resources to address a critical issue. Assuming willing volunteers are found, former military and law enforcement personnel are ideal choices, having already received professional firearms training and bringing the experience which comes with those careers.
The last idea being put forward by Jones is a bit more questionable, and that’s to end fire drills at schools. It’s understandable how some might consider this as a sort of gut reaction when you recall that the Florida school shooter pulled a fire alarm to get the students out in the hallways. But there doesn’t seem to be a practical purpose to it. First of all, fire drills are important so the kids know the procedure and the route to take in the event of an actual fire. Jones may be worried that students pouring outside during a drill make for easy targets, but the kids are already outside in large numbers every day at the beginning of school, the end of the day and probably at lunchtime as well. As long as the fire drills are held at random times, they don’t seem to present any significant, additional exposure.
All in all, Jones is clearly on to something. Everyone is yelling for someone to “do something” about school shootings, but there’s a limit to what the government can accomplish. If handled properly, the ideas the Sheriff is fielding could do more than any new package of legislation cooked up in Washington.