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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Opinion

Giving teachers guns is just another license to kill


Given the recent shootings in Connecticut and Colorado, it is no wonder that gun control has become such a debated topic.

The federal and state governments are contemplating how best to proceed with legislation. According to a Jan. 4 Austin American-Statesman article, Texas Senate officials confirmed they would consider a proposal to provide school employees with state-sponsored handgun licenses and special training so they can protect students in case of potential active shooters.

Guns are not at the root of the shootings — a gun cannot fire itself. Moreover, guns are not the solution to violence. They create more problems.

Were money not a problem, the state could experiment with a number of crime prevention options. But as the American-Statesman reported Jan. 7, the chief financial officer of the Texas Education Agency petitioned a district judge for $1 billion, which indicates more pressing needs in the education budget and a lack of better options.

Instead of training educators, who are likely to have little or no experience with guns, the state should hire police officers, whose sole purpose is to protect and serve. Educators have too much on their minds to have to worry about entering into armed conflicts as well.

One other thing to think about: Although the shootings thus far have been committed mostly by students, that does not mean teachers cannot become perpetrators.

It is nice to think educators chose their profession because they love students and love giving them a fine education. However, educators are people.

An over-stressed teacher could have a psychotic breakdown, take his state-issued gun from his desk and commit horrendous acts. Arming educators may be a preventative measure, but it spreads paranoia, which can lead to irrational thoughts, itchy trigger fingers and terrible accidents.

The proposal does not take into account that by removing the gun-free status from schools, the proposition essentially allows anyone to take a gun to campus.

According to the National Rifle Association’s website, Texas residents do not need a permit to own a gun, nor do they need to register it. A license is not needed to carry a shotgun or rifle — only bearing handguns necessitates a Concealed Handgun License.

Anyone with a state ID who is at least 21 years old can obtain a CHL, buy a gun and bring the gun on campus, unless the proposed law allowing teachers to bear arms explicitly prohibits students from doing so.

If teachers have handguns, would-be shooters will bring more powerful guns. Scott Oliver, who owns Creekwood Shooting Sports in Conroe with his wife,

“The most powerful weapon a civilian can own is a .50-caliber rifle,” said Scott Oliver, who owns Creekwood Shooting Sports in Conroe with his wife. “The fact that a civilian over the age of 18 can own such a powerful weapon is frightening.”

Though the intentions behind the possible legislation may be noble, there is too much that could go wrong. More weapons on the streets is not the solution.

Rather than spend time and funds training educators, government officials should look at the underlying reasons for the shootings. State gun laws are not restrictive enough.

Potential murderers will not likely follow the law anyway.

Mónica Rojas is a journalism freshman and may be reached at [email protected]

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