MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

February 9, 2013

Keep classrooms gun-free


— State legislators should realize allowing teachers to carry firearms in classrooms is a bad idea that fuels the potential for tragedy.

House Bill 1062 would allow teachers or administrators to carry guns if they have passed a basic police academy course for reserve deputies.

The bill appears to be a reaction to another in a too long line of tragedies at schools.

People in Newtown, Conn., are still picking up the pieces of their lives after more than 20 people — mostly children — were shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

It is natural to react.

It is understandable to want to protect our children at every opportunity.

But this idea goes over the line.

It interjects firearms into situations where children are present.

That is not a good idea.

It interjects weapons into the background of potentially volatile situations that can get very bad very quickly.

Taking a basic police academy course is not enough of a safeguard.

Law enforcement officers train to make life-and-death, split-second decisions. We never know exactly how these officers will react in their first armed confrontation. And they deal with that kind of pressure on a daily basis.

Allowing teachers to carry weapons also creates potential liability issues for schools.

What if a student finds the gun?

What if a student wrestles a gun from a teacher and uses it to kill more students?

The bill does provide some measure of sanity. It would be up to each school district to determine policy on allowing open carry in schools.

But why even let it get to that point? Don’t expand where guns can be carried legally if those places involve large gatherings of children.

There is a noble and natural instinct to protect children. That is our job as adults.

The most vulnerable of our society need the blanket of protection that law enforcement provides. Each person should want to do all they can to protect children.

But a teacher’s job is to teach, not provide armed security.