On the surface, allowing teachers to carry firearms to protect students from an active shooter has some logic to it.
They’ll be able to react quickly and decisively if someone seeks to kill those in a classroom. Teachers could save many lives by incapacitating an individual bent on mass murder.
However, the chaos inherent in violent incidents can cause great confusion in short order. People who do not receive extensive training in handling emergency situations will be prone to errors that could lead to unintended tragedies.
Last week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill to restrict who may carry firearms on school grounds. Such authority will be limited to law enforcement agents, school resource officers and security guards.
“The answer to the gun violence epidemic plaguing this country has never been and never will be more guns, and today we’re expanding New York’s nation-leading gun safety laws to further protect our children,” Cuomo said in a news release issued by his office July 31. “These measures will help slow the proliferation of guns by keeping unneeded firearms out of school zones and helping to ensure unwanted or illegal guns don’t fall into dangerous hands.”
Some people believe that no-gun policies make those on school campuses sitting ducks for killers. And seeing that shootings in school facilities have become more common, it’s hard to argue against this notion.
But adding more guns to a volatile mix of rage and terror is a recipe for disaster. If a teacher draws a weapon while turning a corner only to see two people pointing firearms at each other, what’s the proper course of action? Who’s the “good guy with a gun,” and who’s the offender?
More districts are hiring school resource officers to provide a greater sense of security, and this is a positive development. If local police can make increased patrols on school grounds, this also helps.
The best solution is to enhance security at entrances to ensure no unauthorized individual walks in with a firearm. This may require metal detectors.
It’s unfortunate that our society has come to this. The violence carried out this past weekend reminds us again of how tragic and perplexing this problem is.
Keeping out people with weapons determined to kill students is much better than inviting more people into schools carrying guns. We urge district officials to do whatever they can to keep their buildings safe for students and staff members. The legislation signed last week by Mr. Cuomo is a sensible move in this effort.