Arming school teachers not a solution

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: January 17 2013 | 11:09 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 10:13 am in

The Gazette Editorial Board

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In the midst of our current national debate about gun regulations, at least one proposal should be dismissed. Abolishing gun-free zones in Iowa’s schools, as has been suggested by some groups, would serve no useful purpose.

To help prevent tragic incidents similar to the one that occurred in Newtown, Conn., schools instead should concentrate their resources and strategies on defensive security measures, not arming school personnel. Whether to have a trained security guard or police officer with guns should be each district’s decision.

We agree with the Iowa Association of School Boards, which adamantly opposes the idea of allowing guns in school. The potential problems outweigh potential benefits.

Iowa Gun Owners says it will push state legislators this session to expand gun rights and abolish gun-free zones, including in schools. The group argues that the Connecticut shooting is ample evidence that gun-free zones don’t work and that teachers should have the right to carry weapons in the classroom in order to protect themselves and their students.

But school shooting incidents, as heartbreaking as they are, still are thankfully rare, especially in Iowa. Few students and staff ever will experience them.

In the extremely unlikely event that a live shooter enters a school building, having more guns in play more likely would make the situation potentially more dangerous, not less. Even for a skilled marksman, it takes expert training and dedicated practice to be able to effectively handle a weapon in a crisis situation. Every additional weapon involved in a live shooting makes it that much more difficult for police to respond and secure the scene.

Better to look for reasonable safety precautions and training that doesn’t revolve around the use of weapons.

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