Parents shouldn’t have to worry if they will ever see their kids again after a school day. School shootings, while still extremely rare compared to other forms of gun violence, must be addressed. It only takes one victim for a family to be devastated for life. Fortunately, there are solutions if we are willing to look beyond the current political hysteria regarding firearms.
On Aug. 8, Laura Carno gave a presentation at the John Locke Foundation on her work with FASTER Colorado, an organization that believes training and equipping a select few teachers to carry firearms is the key to preventing the next tragedy. The simple truth is that fast and lethal responses to a school shooter are what save lives.
Arming school staff can be a weary proposition if one envisions a nearly retired elderly math teacher with coke bottle glasses wildly waving around a snub-nosed revolver in a classroom. Even Second Amendment supporters should immediately balk at that response to a school shooter. That’s not FASTER Colorado or its program that promotes safer schools.
Most impressive from Carno’s presentation is the rigorous training that volunteer school staff undergo to carry a firearm on campus. Volunteers are already familiar and proficient with firearms. It’s not merely on-the-job training, and not everybody fulfills the requirements. The qualification exceeds law enforcement academies’ training because using those arms could potentially occur around students. Firearm owners who have only taken a concealed carry class are far from being ready to tackle the training.
“The training is very difficult, and not everybody passes, and we are okay with that,” says Carno.
Students deserve only highly trained protection. Furthermore, the extensive firearms training staff undergo is not just in the use of firearms. Some staff choose only to undergo the medical trauma training aspect of FASTER Colorado. It’s another training layer meant to save lives in schools.
The tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, particularly the alarming lack of response by law enforcement, is changing the perception of how best to respond to school shooters. Carno pointed out that a law enforcement poll by Police One reveals that 61% believe arming school staff will make children safer. Furthermore, a post-Uvalde poll by EducationWeek says that 45% of American adults now support arming teachers.
The best way to respond to a deranged shooter is to meet them with a rapid armed response to destroy the threat. Currently, North Carolina does not allow firearms in the school for those that aren’t law enforcement. Thirty-four states have carved out exemptions from the 1990 Gun Free Zone act that does allow for the potential of some armed staff. North Carolina has no exemption and has done very little to expand Second Amendment protections in recent years. Lawmakers can start changing the stalemate by protecting students in our schools.
North Carolinians and lawmakers should listen to Carno’s presentation. Moving beyond talking points on firearms can keep students safer. Even skeptics can’t deny the extensive professional training. Carno quickly dispels popular myths like students potentially seeing teachers with guns or that only law enforcement is equipped to stop an armed assailant.
If Carno is merely a crazed gun activist who only wants to wreck school environments, she hides it well. I’d bet, being a grandmother and family woman, she’s like most parents. She just wants to see that kids are safer in schools and to hear fewer heartbreaking stories of devastation and loss of innocent life.
Ray Nothstine is Carolina Journal opinion editor and Second Amendment research fellow at the John Locke Foundation.