Putting guns in schools is a naive idea

The National Rifle Association revealed a plan Tuesday to arm teachers and volunteers to guard U.S. schools.

The plan is naive, dangerous and expensive, and here's why:

First, we have all seen too many movies and television police shows where a handsome cop rips off a round or two and cleanly nails someone shooting at him.

Bruce Willis can do it hundreds of times in the same movie. How hard can it be?

But police officers who have been in shooting situations, and years of statistics, tell another story.

An interesting story in January's "Time" magazine interviewed cops who have faced gunfire and those who train police officers. The article is titled "Your Brain in a Shootout: Guns, Fear and Flawed Instincts."

"Winning a gunfight without shooting innocent people typically requires realistic, expensive training and a special kind of person," the article said.

Even the trained officers of the New York City police department only hit their targets 18 percent of the time. Recently, when they fired at an armed man outside the Empire State Building they hit nine bystanders before felling the man.

In 2009, a man tried robbing an off-duty police officer at an ATM. Both men fired repeatedly at each other from only feet apart, and neither man was hit. The officer fired six times before the robber just ran away.

"Under sudden attack, the brain does not work the way we think it will," said Ryan Millbern who, as a police officer, has responded to two active-shooter incidents in his career. 

Millbern said he has seen grown men "freeze under threat, like statues." They forget or struggle to do simple things, like release the safety on their guns. 

"I've heard arguments that an armed teacher could and would respond to an active shooter in the same way a cop would. I think this is very unrealistic."

Second, there would be the tremendous expense of maintaining trained teachers, police officers and volunteers in schools with only a negligible chance of a shooting incident.

Most police officers go an entire career without firing their weapon, and they are facing bad people every day.

Finally, introducing guns into thousands of American schools would risk accidental discharges, like those that have already occurred in schools with police resource officers.

Since we are throwing around ideas, how about this one: Stop the person before they can get near children by installing intruder-proof doors in hallways and classrooms.

Then place panic buttons in strategic places, like the school's front office.

In an incident like Newtown, a secretary or principal in the office could have instantly locked down the entire school, which would have made it difficult or impossible for Adam Lanza to enter any of the classrooms.

It would also have alleviated the need for them to confront the heavily armed killer.

Only police would know how to release the door locks, plus teachers would be able to unlock individual rooms from inside their classrooms when they felt the danger had passed.

That would be a one-time expense, but it would likely be less costly than buying tens of thousands of weapons and paying teachers for 40-60 hours of training and regular refresher courses.

It would also eliminate the need to introduce guns, which would give children a false sense of the actual danger they face each day in school.

Sound like a better plan? There may be others.

The trouble with the NRA is that their solution to gun problems is always more guns. 


The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.

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Jack Tetreault's picture


The reason our Government wants to confiscate all Guns is because the US and the world economy will be collapsing within the next ten years and they do not want guns in the hands of protesters that will probably riot like Greece has.
The reason for the collapse is Government over spending. Cities are going bankrupt in large numbers. The Federal Government would be bankrupt were it not for it's ability to print money and pay off debt with inflated dollars.The Fed will lose its ability to print money because the dollar will have lost most of its value. Gold, silver and other hard assets will be the only means of exchange. Our bank accounts will be worth almost nothing. The loses to US citizens will be 20 trillion plus dollars.

How are we going to pay for school security?

Noel Foss's picture

"Putting guns in schools is a naive idea"

I suppose that "naive" depends on who's suggesting it:



The big question is whether or not they're effective:



But, I'm somebody who thinks that making armed guards in schools mandatory is about as absurdly ineffective as turning schools into "gun free zones"; what the heck do I know?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I think everyone is too

I think everyone is too focused on the object – the gun – they are missing the bigger picture.

Perhaps having someone nearby who can challenge the shooter will distract him or her long enough to get people to safety. The simple fact that the shooter knows someone is hunting them could divert there focus from their targets; in the case of Sandy Hook, the kids.

Just go back and reread all police shooting statistics cited herein, although not good, the shooter is engaging the police (the individual with the gun) and not their original target.

We don’t need motion picture perfection, we need someone with the balls to engage the shooter to buy time for everyone to exit the fire zone.

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Lawsuit looking for a place to happen, maybe;

Construction of lock down safe rooms with bullet proof metal doors, jambs and glass is logical. Cameras and hired operators to shut down areas is more affective.
Alarms and lockdown buttons are feasible and cheaper than paying for services of a rent a cop or guard, much more lawsuits

Just like in Newtown the guard was not present and out to lunch, literally when it happened. Square footage of a large school like Columbine or Campus would not have a person there on time.

Rent a Cops/Guards/Security are not experts with weapons in a gun blazing confrontations and hence accidentally shot those that needed the protection. After ballistics have been accounted they find that the persons shot are NOT from the gunman,OOPS, HUGE law suits.

Who now pays is the person that shot person(s) by mistake and the school, community and worst off the person(s) that are accidently shot. Now the school is liable for employing that person.

Construction of safe rooms and safety procedures with lockout mechanisms for areas, having a Qualified person on cameras and lock out sectional controls would protect the majority until the professionals arrive to take care of the situation.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture


And making them Gun Free Zones isn't? Just askin'.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Paul , noon ƒlyday No guns.

Paul , noon ƒlyday
No guns. Authorized service personnel only . Hire new dog catchers . They are officers of the law, too . They need guns
Putting guns in schools is a naive idea . Dumb, too ?
http://home.nra.org/#/home <- not an endorsement • /s Dr. Dosh , cleaner upper of suicides

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

And making them gun free

And making them gun free zones creates a target rich environment of defenseless children and adults for those who would do them harm. Why is that so difficult for you and your ilk to grasp?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Did Colorado shooter single

Did Colorado shooter single out Cinemark theater because it banned guns?

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/09/10/did-colorado-shooter-single-ou...

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Can't really say; I wasn't in

Can't really say; I wasn't in town on that day. 0O:-)

 's picture


Instead of guns and armed guards lets Bring GOD back into schools. Lets PRAY, LETS Salutte the Flag, LETS teach our children about MORALS. LETS just see what this does. THE COST a few BIBLES. I know we dont want another Newtown. LETS put this in effect IMEDIATELY if not SOONER. If this offends anyone TOUGH . If your not FOR GOD then you must be for Satan and He brings DEATH and DESTRUCTION.

Jason Theriault's picture

Oh yes, that will do it.

I mean, the d-bag shooter from Newtown, he just needed more churching up. Because, as you know, religion is a cure for mental illness.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Are you saying religion is a

Are you saying religion is a cure of liberalism, a mental disorder?

JERRY ARIPEZ's picture

Throw the book at them, I get it...

The only thing that fable book is good for is hoping you can throw it at them and kill them with a paper cut...Geesh!

Call on those golden trumpeters to come down with those white horses and trample on those that come in with guns.

Those golden angels can come down with those swords and Michael can slay them all...

Jeff Johnson's picture

Wow, Bill... let's mix in a

Wow, Bill... let's mix in a cup of decaf every now and then. Mmmmmkay?

So which bible should we put in the schools? King James Version? Mormon? Old Testament only? How about Talmudic references. Can we include those? Some Bhuddism scripts maybe? (They're pretty big on the love-thy-neighbor stuff too)

So, you want some fresh-out-of-college kid to teach your child about morals, huh? AND theach them about what they know about God? America's schools can barely teach Math and Language Arts.

Morals begin in the home, Bill. Religion begins at home. If you want the school to teach them, there are plenty of private religious schools in the United States. Go find one.

For now, I'll take diversity over religion, and let's let the teachers concentrate on algebra.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Diversity, what does that

Diversity, what does that mean. One can have no religion, but have no diversity or one can have religion with much diversity. Likewise, one can teach algebra to a diverse or non-diverse student body.

What do you mean in this context?

 's picture

Good commentary Rex. Those

Good commentary Rex. Those are the best ideas yet. With current technology doors individually and all could be locked down, by cell phones. The disagreement I would have is you are demonizing guns anecdotally. It s funny even with the highly trained police hitting their targets 18% of the time, the emotionally distraught, snapped or just crazy people never seem to attack police stations. Why? In Maine we do have a relatively low crime rate even for our population density. I probably could dig up and even tell an equal amount of stories where people successfully defended themselves.
Having guns in school is crazy nuts. My first reaction about Newtown, hearing of the teachers diving in front of their students was......arm the teachers. Then I started to think. There has to be a better way. The NRA is fighting the erosion, they just need a better spokesperson.

Jack Tetreault's picture

Blaming Guns

Blaming guns for killing people is like blaming spoons for making people fat.

AL PELLETIER's picture

Guns and reactions.

Many years ago I was deer hunting with a friend. This friend was an experienced hunter having bagged several doe in his life time and had gone through a hunter safety course.
I was about 200 feet away from him when he raised his 30-30 lever action on a 10 point buck. He ejected 5 rounds and never fired once. To this day he still swears he fired. Some call this buck fever just as armed security personal might suffer from "bad guy fever". NRA's logic is not logical!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Al, You just have to draw the

You just have to draw the shooter’s attention away from his or her intended target. For example, if your friend ejaculated five times in front of the Newtown shooter, perhaps the shooters attention would have been on your friend just long enough to save a number of lives. That outcome would have been a success don’t you think?

AL PELLETIER's picture

Right off the wall as usual

"If your friend had EJACULATED FIVE TIMES". We weren't in a circle jerk, Mark, we were deer hunting.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Perhaps you missed the theme

Perhaps you missed the theme of my comment - "You just have to draw the shooter’s attention away from his or her intended target."

Robert McQueeney's picture

Gun free zones?

All schools are gun free zones, and we all know how the criminals listen to that. Thing is, when a criminal brings a gun to a school and starts using it, are the law abiding supposed to obey the sign that says gun free zone and not bring a gun to take out the criminal?

All the arguments sound good in this article, until the criminal arrives with the gun and starts using it. At that point, I doubt anyone will start reciting any of those arguments.

Doors only work if they are closed in time, let's not stop with the doors, make sure the walls and windows will protect also.

Suppose the shooter gets beyond the doors, and now the armed police can not get in when they arrive 10 minutes later????

Jason Theriault's picture

I like the idea.

It's nice to see great minds think alike....

The Answer.
By Jason Theriault, verified user — Tue, 02/05/2013 - 09:55
Lets break this down. Gun control and school safety are really two different issues. Don't get me wrong - I want more gun control. 11,000 people died in 2011 from guns, and most of them were not in schools.

The solution for schools is better doors to the classrooms. The door is the last line of defense. It should be made so that not only can it retain it's integrity when shot with everything under a .50 bmg, it should be able to latch at multiple points so that there is no single point of failure. You keep the gunman out of classrooms, you win the battle.
Throw in some windows too, and the kids would be safe.

Doors and windows are also cheaper than armed guards.


Noel Foss's picture

Doors that stand up to a .50BMG are a moot point...

When the school's made out of cinderblocks and drywall (mine all were). So the door's 2 inches of plate steel. Big whoop. Ever shoot a cinder block? They're not real rugged, but they'll stop a bullet. The round goes through the first layer, fragments, and splatters all over the opposite layer. Of course, that's when you're only firing one round. Fire another round through that first hole, and guess what happens? Same thing, but instead it's shrapnel flying out the opposite side rather than harmlessly falling to the ground.
And that's with a handgun. With a rifle? Forget it. So what's next? Steel-plated classrooms? You going to advocate retrofitting all the schools in the country with bulletproof walls? Betcha the armed guards would be cheaper. Unless people start committing school shootings with Ruger #1's, having the most rugged door on the planet isn't a solution.

Not to say that armed guards are; you can't fix a multifaceted problem with a single solution.

GARY SAVARD's picture

No bullet proof glass on all

No bullet proof glass on all the windows?

Steve  Dosh's picture

Putting guns in schools is a naive idea

. .all 13.04.04 18:30 hst ?
It's a dumb idea
Guns do not belong in schools
Pride (In The Name Of Love) - U2 " Early morning , April 4. .shots ring out in the Memphis sky . .ƒree at last ! "
Lest we forget . MLK jr. was shot on this date in his story
Guns are the problem • /s, Steve


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