Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) did the Sunshine State a big favor on Wednesday when he signed legislation recommended in the wake of last year’s tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida. Instead of taking the predictable, easy, do-nothing route of passing useless gun control laws, DeSantis went in the other direction and signed a bill that will allow teachers in Florida schools to carry guns. Thanks to his proactive leadership, many Florida students will not be left as sitting ducks the next time a maniac decides to use them for target practice.
Florida already had in place “guardian” laws that allowed non-classroom personnel to carry weapons on a volunteer basis. With the new law, however, select classroom teachers will also be allowed to volunteer for the program. At that point, they’ll be put through 144 hours of police-style training, go through a drug screening, and be submitted to a psychiatric evaluation program. If they come out of all that, they will then be permitted to carry a gun on campus.
The law, of course, has its share of fierce detractors.
“Can you imagine somebody you taught potentially coming on the campus and you protecting other children and shooting a child you once taught?” Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins of the Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Association asked Fox News. “We’re not thinking about all the mental issues that go into that.”
But Second Amendment advocate John Lott said the law’s viability is less theoretical than its opponents would like the public to believe.
“The Crime Prevention Research Center, of which I am the president, has just released a report looking at school shootings of all types in the United States from 2000 through 2018,” Lott wrote in an op-ed recently. “Our study found that during these 18 years Utah, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and parts of Oregon allowed all permitted teachers and staff to carry guns without any additional training requirements. Other states leave it to the discretion of the local superintendent or school board.”
Lott found that teachers in certain parts of Texas and Ohio were also allowed to carry guns. Looking at the data from those areas and comparing it to other school districts, he wrote, proved to be very instructive.
“The rate of shootings and people killed by them has increased significantly since 2000. The yearly average number of people who died between 2001 and 2008 versus 2009 and 2018 has doubled (regardless of whether one excludes gang fights and suicides),” he wrote. “This increase has occurred entirely among schools that don’t let teachers carry guns. Outside of suicides or gang violence in the wee hours of the morning, there has yet to be a single case of someone being wounded or killed from a shooting when armed teachers are around.”
Lott’s figures show that the hysteria about training teachers to be vigilant classroom protectors is overblown, overhyped, and mired in myth. The alternative is to stay the course and leave our schools open and welcoming to the psychos who want to commit mass murder. That’s simply not an option anymore.