The Numbers Are In: Arming Teachers Works
Do you remember when President Trump suggested that we arm teachers to stop school shootings? Liberals were enraged. They got tens of thousands of liberal teachers to sign a petition against it. They claim that teachers already have too much responsibility.
There were two problems with this outrage. First, the program was always intended to be voluntary. Second, it’s already been in place for years in a number of states. We can measure the risks and success of these programs by splitting them into three categories: unnecessary injuries, the monetary cost and the rate of attacks against schools with armed teachers. Let’s see if these programs work.
Since 2013, 18 different states have approved policies that arm teachers. Additionally, 12 states mandate that colleges honor concealed carry permits, and 23 more states leave it up to individual schools. In all, that makes for a lot of armed civilians on schools in our country. One of the great concerns with doing this is that the wrong people will get shot. It does no good to stop mass shooters if you have a bunch of teachers accidentally killing school children.
Let’s look at the numbers. Since 2013, there have been exactly 7 discharges by teachers that cannot be classified as justified (for reference there have been thousands of discharges within training courses that aren’t being counted). Those seven discharges resulted in zero deaths. There were injuries, but none were life threatening. Also, none of the injured persons were students.
To look at this another way, the worst revocation rate of these specific licenses was 0.196 percent. The vast majority of those revocations have nothing to do with misuse of a firearm. Even so, that’s a better safety percentage than we see with school playgrounds, pools or even lockers.
As for colleges, there have been zero cases of concealed carry holders committing any gun crimes at all. That covers thousands of people carrying on a daily basis. None of them have misused their weapon yet — accidentally or not. There was one case where a student was accused of brandishing (not discharging) his weapon. It was dropped for a lack of evidence.
The Cost of Arming Teachers
It’s great that teachers aren’t gunning down their students, but is it cost-effective? We can’t definitively answer this question. Training programs vary by state (and even school district). There is no universal cost. Even if there was, there is no public list of armed teachers (for obvious reasons), so we just aren’t sure how much is being spent.
We know two things in regards to cost. First, an extensive study has shown that arming teachers has no impact whatsoever on insurance premiums. That probably has to do with the numbers in the previous section.
The second thing we know is that the cost of arming teachers is small enough that it hasn’t raised any eyebrows. Plenty of journalists have combed financial records to find an excuse to attack these programs. They’ve failed. It would be safe to say that the cost of arming teachers is effectively negligible.
But Does it Work?
This is the question that matters most. If armed teachers aren’t making schools more dangerous, the cost matters a lot less than the effectiveness. Here’s a statistic for you. To date, there have been zero slayings at a school with armed teachers. That’s certainly a good start, but since these schools are a minority, it’s not fair to assume that armed teachers are the sole reason for that statistic.
We can get more perspective if we compare a similar program. In 2001, the government approved a system that allows airline pilots to carry in the cockpit. It is estimated that 1 in 10 pilots are armed (that list is also kept secret). That means tens of millions of flights have been flown with weapons in the cockpit. There have been zero accidental discharges. There have also been zero successful terror attacks in U.S. airspace. Overall there has been one fatality. That happened when passengers and crew overzealously restrained a terrorist whose plot was foiled mid-flight. The restraints cut oxygen to the terrorist’s brain and he died before the flight landed.
Let’s recap. Arming teachers costs so little money we can’t measure it. The risk to students has been absolutely zero — not close to zero. No armed school has suffered an attack, and when we compare the similar program for pilots, we see the same statistics.
Arming teachers works. The end.