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Editorial: A common sense issue?

June 5, 2014

in Local

SWO-webObservations, By Pete Daniels, consulting editor

Missouri’s governor now has to decide whether he agrees with the state’s legislators because he has a bill awaiting his signature that would result in a major change in our classrooms. Let’s hope common sense prevails.

According to a published Associated Press report: “The proposed law would allow any school district in Missouri to designate one or more elementary or secondary school teachers or administrators as a voluntary ‘school protection officer.’ Such a designation would include the right to carry a concealed firearm or a ‘self-defense spray device.’ School districts would first have to hold a public hearing before allowing such a designation.”

The report also said that “after passing a training course, protection officers would be issued concealed-carry permits and have the legal authority to detain or use force against someone on school property, including students.”

Thankfully, there are some sensible folks in the Missouri National Education Association and the Missouri PTA who don’t think much of this idea and are saying so.

This whole issue seems to be knee-jerk reaction to the horrific fatal shootings that have occurred in some schools in recent months. Deranged individuals took aim at fellow students and fired, killing many. That’s a terrible thing and we all know it.

Finding a solution to such a problem is never simple. There are many factors involved and not the least of them is family atmosphere. Close-knit families that cherish moral values and the health of their members may be the ideal answer, but that isn’t easy to accomplish, either.

Nevertheless, attempting to legislate an answer here only creates new problems.

There’s another issue as well. The legislation awaiting the governor’s signature also “loosens some restrictions on carrying concealed weapons and lowers the age for eligibility for a concealed-carry permit from 19 to 21,” the AP report notes.

We’re not sure why our legislators thought that was an important point, but evidently they did.

Gov. Nixon has gone on record as opposing guns in schools for any reason. Hopefully, he won’t change his mind.

This isn’t about anyone’s right to buy or own a gun. There are any of number of reasons for gun ownership, with self-protection and hunting among them.

But that doesn’t mean we should burden our teachers with this issue. A teacher enters a classroom for one primary reason — to educate those who are in that class. Walking in with a loaded weapon does absolutely nothing to further that mandate.

Teaching today’s tech-savvy students is no easy task. The rapid changes occuring in our world and the complexity of life in a global society make that job even harder. Our niece is a teacher and trying to imagine her with a gun boggles the mind.

Just on the face of it, what student could concentrate on his or her classroom work while confronted with a gun-carrying instructor? And what protection would the teacher have should some deranged invidual attempt to take the weapon away ?

Simply put, the idea of armed teachers in classrooms creates more problems than it solves. It’s a bad proposal.

One state representative, Kevin Elmer, a Republican from Nixa, told a radio station that “it is up to the discretion of the local school boards whether or not they will take advantage of this particular tool.”

That’s a bit of an odd take on this issue and we’re not sure that the word “tool” is appropritate. Guns in the classroom simply aren’t a good plan, even if the original idea was to protect students. Think back to the days of the Old West: Teachers didn’t come into class armed then, so why now?

The only good thing to be said about the proposed law is that local school districts would be given the authority to decide whether to adhere to it and that’s only after public hearings are held.

Perhaps nothing will come of all this other than some heated discussions. Gov. Nixon may save us all a bunch trouble by simply not signing the bill. All we’d need to do then is decide, the next time an election rolls around, what to do about the people who came up with this idea in the first place.


  • Dean Weingarten

    I do not see any problem with allowing trained, responsible adults to carry guns in schools. This was the policy for hundreds of years before the disastrous gun free school zone act was passed in 1995.

    After the act was passed, mass shootings in schools increased four-fold.


  • jack burton

    Pete Daniels would have your children protected by the “helpless lambs” theory of self defense against an active shooter. Note one thing well, if anything happens in your child’s school ol’ Pete will not be there to throw his body in the way of harm to protect your child.

    And the only thing Pete knows about the “wild west” is what he watched on TV growing up. Guns were common place in many schools even as late at the 1960s.

  • RE Hafner

    As usual the mindless gun grabbers want us all to be willing unarmed victims.

  • David Kenjiro Karásek

    I never cease to be amazed – and pissed – by mentality of these people (I mean author). Law offers schools right to choose whether they want to use it or not, but he goes “Let them not choose – I’m so smart and my opinion is so superior that I should decide it for them.” Seems that basic concept of liberty – that everybody has right to decide for himself – is completely alien to this kind of people.

  • tomgresham

    Many states allow teachers to carry in class. Have you heard of any problems? No. Why? Because they get TRAINING. Do you think Missouri teachers are more careless than those in other states? This is voluntary, so no one will be “forced” to do anything.

    Situation: Bad guy comes to school to kill people. Options. 1. Call for help, and allow bad guy to kill one child ever 5 seconds for the 5 minutes it takes the police to arrive. 2. Have a trained person who is ON THE SCENE shoot the bad guy and stop the killing.

    We need more first responders. The police are second responders. Only the people at the crime scene are first responders.

  • a_goodtarheel1

    If someone looking for a place to fire on a large amount of people knows that he may be gunned down before he can get one round off, he will go somewhere else. I wish all teachers were armed to the teeth. It just makes sense.

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