Should School Teachers Be Armed?

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Should School Teachers Be Armed?

This is a college paper on “SHOULD SCHOOL TEACHERS BE ARMED?”

The research essay/ dissertation can help you argue out whether teachers should be armed in the United States of America or not.

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5th November, 2017




1.1 Background Information

1.2 Proponents of arming of teachers

1.3 Opponents of arming of teachers

1.4 Thesis Statement

1.5 Research Questions

1.6 Objectives of the Study

1.6.1 Main Objective

1.6.2 Specific Objectives

1.7 Scope of the Study

1.8 Significance of the Research


2.1 Introduction

2.2 History of Gun Attacks in American Schools

2.3 USA Gun Laws

2.3.1 Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968

2.3.2 The second Amendment of the U.S. constitution

2.3.3 Federal Firearms Act (FFA) of 1938

2.3.4 The National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934

2.3.5 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF or ATFE)

2.4 Concealed Carry Law

2.5 Police Responses to School Shootings


3.1 Introduction

3.2 Research design

3.3 Sampling Techniques

3.4 Research Tools

3.5 Sample size and Sources of Data

3.6 Reliability and Validity

3.6.1 Reliability

3.6.2 Validity


4.1 Introduction

4.2 Opinion polls on whether teachers should be armed

4.3 History of school shootings

4.4 Causes of school shootings


5.1 Reasons for School Shootings

5.2 Mass shooting Investigations

5.3 Expert Opinions on why teachers should not be armed

5.4 Public Opinion on why teachers should not be armed

5.5 Reasons why teachers should be armed

5.6 Conclusion



Appendix 1: Online Questionnaire


People have always debated on whether teachers should be armed or not following the mass shootings that have been witnessed in learning institutions across the United States of America. This study sought to find out whether teachers should be armed. Using primary data from industry experts, peer reviewed journal articles and books, the researcher analyzed the findings using quantitative and qualitative methods. The findings indicate that 52% of Americans want teachers to be armed while 44% have different opinions. Proponents of arming of teachers argue that armed teachers can prevent assailants from murdering innocent people as they await police intervention thus saving lives. Opponents claim that the teachers avails the weaponry needed for stressed and mentally unstable teachers and even students to commit crimes.


1.1  Background Information

The topic on whether teachers should or should not be armed has attracted the attention of various stakeholders and researchers in the last fifty decades. The debate was sparked by increased mass shootings of unarmed people carrying out their normal day to day life activities and even students in their classrooms. Proponents of arming of teachers claim that armed teachers can prevent the loss of many lives by engaging shooters. Opponents of the view suggest that firearms cannot help in restoring peace from a morally decadent society.

The research paper explores the varying opinions on whether teachers should or should not be armed. It explores the motivation behind the push to arm teachers, the advantages and disadvantages of arming teachers and the legal ramifications of arming or not arming teachers. The rest of the paper is structured as follows: the first two sections paper explores the history of shootings in American Schools, USA gun laws and causes of school shootings. Chapter three presents the research methods while chapter four and five present the findings and discussion respectively. To provide a deeper understanding to the subject matter, the paper is divided into introduction, literature review, methodology, discussion and conclusion.


1.2 Proponents of arming of teachers

Should teachers be allowed to have guns at schools is a case which has ignited numerous discussions in the community. This issue came into the limelight after a tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school. The purpose of the guns at schools is protection; teachers feel secure as well as ensure students and pupils their security. Apart from the matters concerning the security of our children, being reasonable is key as well. Very few parents will allow their children to learn in an environment full of deadly weapons such as guns. In this paper, we are going to look at the pros and cons of allowing teachers to possess guns in the school environment.

It was the 14th day of December the year 2012 when an armed man invaded the Sandy Hook Elementary[1]. This incident left more persons dead while others injured. The reason for such a move is yet to be known. Children who lost their lives were very young, knowing nothing at their tender age. Legislature out of impulse considered the idea of allowing teachers to be armed to protect such innocent being during such occurrences.

At the moment we have a number of schools who have upheld this legislation. The pioneer school was the Harrold Independent School District located in Harrold, Texas. In their well-discussed process, they came to an agreement that twenty-five of their members of staff should be armed at school with guns. The knowledge of who is carrying a gun was not to be disclosed to anyone. The nearest police station to this school is about thirty miles away. The distance is quite big during an emergency, thus the need for immediate enforcement of the legislation. The process of acquiring a gun involved; the teacher should first procure a license then undergo a series of training before being allowed to carry the weapon to a public facility such as school.

Statistics from the New York Times indicate that only 2% of youth homicides are experienced in schools[2]. From the finding, it is clear that the probability of a shooting taking place in an institution is very minimal. When an incident takes place the teacher and other staffs who are armed may be found unaware thus not saving the situation. Knotty students on the other side might try to imitate their teacher and bring guns to school. When this weapon is in school and under unsafe hands they might cause harm to the innocent parties. As a result of this killings will increase in such schools instead of reducing. On the other side, the guns possessed by the teachers might be stolen thus raising tension in the environment. Presence of weapons in the school environment will make them be viewed as prisons; where the students are prisoners to the teachers. Can we find better alternatives to this problem? Are parent at ease when they send their kids to an environment full of guns? This is some of the questions this paper is going to deal on.


1.3 Opponents of arming of teachers

There is a difference between a good guy with a gun and a bad guy with the same gun. A good person will use such a weapon to protect himself and friends. Cases of violence are believed to reduce if we have guns in our schools. A terrorist is scared away when facing an armed opponent or target. This fear comes with a sense of safety within the school compound. Due to such reason many teachers have viewed this as their right. They champion for it out of the love they have for their students and fellow colleagues. Some even blame themselves where they lost their friends on their watch. That notion that they were at the crime scene and could not help out haunts them day in day out.

The safety of our children should be the first priority in our lives, but we have many ways of doing it. Carrying a weapon is okay, but they should be as lethal as Guns. The use of mace and bean bag guns can do as much work in keeping away shooters as guns can. Metal detectors are also another good method of stopping entry of deadly weapons into our institutions. Some shooting is from mentally challenged persons, therefore introducing mental health in our schools might also reduce the number of this incidences. Counselling classes as well help in calming down those offended in one way or another.  After exhausting all avenues of keeping safe the student, the gun resolution should come last. The gun should be under the custody trained and responsible individual. The government should also legislate laws that make it mandatory for any institution to have a police officer to maintain law and order within and without the school.

Schools are places for learning of children. The kids should feel safe in such environment for them to perform well. Schools should be heavens where everything is pleasant and good. Going by this view gives us the simplest reason for not allowing guns in presence of our kids. Presences of weapons in any place intimidate the occupants of the place. Teachers may even threaten their students when allowed to handle such crude weapons. Students feel as if they are prisoners as teacher’s warden then.

In classroom teachers should teach by example apart from following the curriculum. Definitely, a community with bad morals will be brought up. Recently most parents have left the parenting responsibility to teachers. Therefore they should not be seen publicly holding such weapons, leave alone using them in case of an attack. Teacher gets a hard time convincing students against owning a gun since themselves have one.

Having a gun makes one feel secure, but those living around you fear for their lives on the contrary. In cases where a teacher becomes careless and abandons his gun where the kids can access it, the lives of these students are put in danger. Naïve kids may think that it is a toy which ends up injuring them. On the other hand, mischievous students can also dupe their teacher so as to get hold of the weapon which is dangerous when in such hands[3]. During an attack the teacher due to lack of enough practice, might miss his target and hits the wrong person. Such unintentional mistakes make this policy sound improper from the word go. From statistic, the number of missed targets committed by the police has risen to up to 20%. This is a very high number considering their training and experience at work. These show that chances of a teacher missing the target are much higher than this. Gun firing involving a school employee and an attacker will cause more harm than it should due to the high frequency of stray bullets in the process.

How trustworthy are teachers to be trusted with such crude weapons? Are there any risks of such trusts to our kids as well as us the parents and other members of the community?  Children are the future of a nation; therefore, their lives should not be taken for granted. A teacher might be stressed at work and direct his disappointment towards his students. In such a case many innocent lives are lost including that of the teacher. After such a silly mistake the teacher knows that he will face the government and penalized dearly. This though will force him to commit suicide. Troubles increase with having guns within reach. Some argue that having guns at school will warn and prevent students from engaging in dangerous acts.  The move might be miscalculated leading to a tempered teacher turning hid wrath towards other teachers and students. Innocent teacher and students lose their lives in the process. Such risks are costly and are not worth taking.

The idea that where there are guns there is safety is cultivated when they are allowed in schools. Students are misled with such statements. From this simple misunderstandings in school might arouse the use of guns to resolve. Students will not cool down unless they hear gunshots in the vicinity. As they look upon their teacher resolving conflicts using their guns, they are encouraged to come to school with theirs when settling scores.


1.4 Thesis Statement

With all the recent shootings in our school systems (elementary, high schools and universities) should teachers be allowed to be armed? What are some of the pros and cons of arming teachers and what are the legal ramifications if teachers are armed?


1.5 Research Questions

What is the motivation behind the push to arm teachers?

Should teachers be allowed to be armed?

What are the pros of arming teachers?

What are the cons of arming teachers?

What are the legal ramifications of arming teachers?


1.6 Objectives of the Study

1.6.1 Main Objective

The main of this research paper is to find out whether teachers in elementary, high schools and universities should be allowed to be armed, the pros and cons of arming teachers and any legal ramifications arising from that.

1.6.2 Specific Objectives

To determine whether teachers should be armed while at school

To evaluate the types of firearms teachers should use in schools

To analyze the advantages and disadvantages of arming teachers

To investigate any legal ramifications arising from arming teachers

To study the shootings at elementary school schools, high schools and universities


1.7 Scope of the Study

The researcher focused on the research topic within the confines of the United States of America. Since mass shootings have occurred in schools in other countries, it is possible that the countries could be contemplating or have already allowed teachers and even students to carry firearms.  However, the study is limited to school teachers within the United States of America. All the laws, cases and people mentioned in this paper are from the USA. Furthermore, the paper is limited to the use of firearms in wreaking havoc in educational institutions and the arming of teachers. The paper does not explore other alternative arms except firearms. At the same time, the paper does not delve into other types of attacks in schools in which other weapons other than firearms were used.


1.8 Significance of the Research

The research is important and relevant to the contemporary American society in which guns are commonplace. It is ironical to learn that a country which has legalized the use of guns should be insecure due to the laws it legislated. The research explores the history of guns in the United States and pinpoints whether legal acquisition of arms can bring security to leering institutions. The research helps students to know whether they have a right to be protected from armed teachers. It helps teachers decide on whether arming themselves is the best way of protecting their lives and the lives of students from unwarranted attacks. The research helps law-makers to know the best way of controlling the movement of firearms within the United States of America. It also helps the government and policy makers to decide on the best ways of enhancing security in educational institutions to avert future massacres of innocent lives.

The research delivers well-reasoned-out arguments concerning the use of firearms. It shall contribute to the debate on whether teachers and students should be armed. By examining the upbringing of children in the contemporary society[4], the study shall bring out possible ways of averting school shootings without necessarily using firearms. The findings can help in restructuring the role of educational institutions, staff, students, parents, law enforcing agents, state security apparatuses and all stakeholders in achieving peaceful learning environments. The study defines the roles of each stakeholder in enhancing security in learning institutions. It is expected that this paper shall be published so that the ideas illustrated can be put into practice.


2.1 Introduction

The literature review section explores the available literature concerning shootings in schools and arming of teachers. Information obtained from credible news sources, books, peer-reviewed journals, articles and publications provide the framework through which the subject matter can be understood. The literature reviewed provides ideas which help in deducing and corroborating evidence obtained from research methods employed. The literature also justifies the research questions, objectives and thesis of the research. For purposes of the current study, the section covers the background information on school shootings, conclusions from past school shootings, the United States of America Gun Laws and their effects of school shootings, educational institutions which allow students and teachers to be armed, the work of the police in mitigating the unwarranted use of firearms in schools and deductions from past shootings.


2.2 History of Gun Attacks in American Schools

The section evaluates the yearly accounts of shootings experienced in the USA over the last seventeen years[5]. The cases exclude the killings that occurred out of a police action or killings during wars. Only killings done by a staff and other armed employees of the schools are covered in this section. An incident like, Bath School bombing disaster are as well excluded because it constitutes terrorism. The account gives the date, location, and the number of victims either injured or dead[6].



Year 2016 and 2017

In the year 2017 a total of six incidents have been witnessed, the most recent one being on September 20, 2017 at Mutton High school. Only one person was injured, the crime was committed by a male student. Other cases include: on 13th September, a killer opened fire at Freeman High School claiming one life as three others are injured, At North lake College, Janeera Nickol was killed by Victor Torres who later also took his life with the same gun. In the month of April at the North Park Elementary school saw a man, Karen Elaine opened fire and killed his fire and a student and took his life thereafter, one was also injured in the scene. At the University of Washington, a youth aged 34 years was killed in a protest on January this year[7]. Finally in January  20th a student at West Liberty-Salem High school was arrested and charged for having a gun within the school compound, he discharged the gun in a hall where one person was injures.

In the year 2016, a total of 15 cases were recorded. 10 persons losing their lives, and 25 injured. The in December there was one case at Mueller Park High School, a student fired into the ceiling, no victims. In the month of October, a total of four cases experienced, seven were injured, and there were no deaths. The incidents occurred in the following institutions, the far north end of Union Middle School, outside June Jordan High School, Linden McKinley STEM Academy, and Vigor High School.

In September there were two cases at Townville Elementary School shooting, and Alpine High School, two and one live lost respectively, and two injure in both incidents.

In June as well there were two cases recorded outside Jeremiah Burke High School and at an engineering building at UCLA, one and two lives were claimed, three were injured at Jeremiah High school also.

No cases were recorded in the month of May.  On 23rd April, at Antigo High school, a former student opened fire that left one dead and two injuries.

Three incidents witness in March, one was fatal while the other two eight people were injured. At the Independent High school, two girls aged 15-years committed a murder suicide, there were no injured victims. The other two cases occurred in Muskegon Heights High school and Madison High School; in both incidences four people were injured.

The month of January two crimes occurs but there were no death causalities, in both cases there only one person was injured. The injury occurred at Lawrence Central High School. The other case was at Franklin High School but neither injuries nor deaths were recorded.


The Year 2015

In the year 2015, a total of twenty one cases were recorded, 23 persons lost their lives while 41 were injured. The most tragic one was Umpqua Community College shooting, it claimed 10 lives and left 9 injured.  An old student Christopher Harper-Mercer, attacked the institution killing one teacher and eight students. The criminal also took his life after being overwhelmed by the police.

No case was reported on December, only two witness on the month of November, one lost his life in each incidence. The location of the two was at Mojave High School and Winston-Salem State University. At the university one person was also injured.

Four cases took place in the month of October, 13 lives lost, and 16 injured. The biggest killing took place on the first day of October at the Umpqua Community College. Eight students and a teacher lost their lives. Other cases include; one death and three injuries at Tennessee University, one killed and another injures at Texas south University, one killing and three wounded at Northern Arizona University.

September was marked with three cases, three lost their lives in the process, and three injured in all the incidents. The crimes occurred in the following institutions; Harrisburg High School: one injured, Delta State University: two died. And Sacramento City College: one died and 2 injured. On august only one case witnessed at Savannah State University where one student, Christopher starks lost his life.

Only two injuries recorded in the two May incidents. At Jacksonville, Florida five bullets fired on a School bus by a 16-year-old, two students were injured. At Southwestern Classical University, seven were injured.

April: Three cases were recorded with two causalities. One of the injured died at Wayne Community College library, the suspect was handcuffed the next day in Florida. In another case at Paradis, Louisiana a police man was injured by a gun man aiming into J.B. Martin Middle School. The other case at North Thurston High School, there was no victims. In March only one case was recorded, a shooter was arrested shooting at Pershing Elementary school, a youth aged 34-years was shot at the buttocks.

February: three cases recorded; one death and five were injured. The death occurred at Tenaya Middle school’s parking lot. The injuries were experienced at Frederick high School and Bethune-Cookman University, where two and three students were injured respectively.

January: two cases recorded at Wisconsin Lutheran High School’s parking and at Ocala, Florida during a Friday night basketball game, three and two persons were injured respectively.

The year 2014

December: Two cases recorded at Rosemary Anderson High School. Four were injured, two suspects arrested. Another case was at Rogers State University a former Tulsa police Officer was the suspect. One person died.

November: Two cases recorded two died and four injured. The locations include, Florida State University’s Strozier Library where one died and three were injured. The other one was at Miami Carol City High School; two teens were shot and one of them died.

October: two cases, six died and one injured. Five died at Marysville Pilchuck High in Washington, while the other one was at Langston Hughes High School’s parking. The injury was at Marysville Pilchuck High[8].

September: four cases witnessed, four persons were injured. The locations of the cases include, Fern Creek Traditional High School, Albemarle High School, Indiana State University, and at one alternative school student in Miami. One person was injured in each case.

June: Two cases, three died and four injured. At Reynolds High School a gunman opened fire killing a freshman, injured a teacher, and committed suicide. At pacific University’s Otto Miller hall a shooter claimed life of a student and injured three.

May: Four cases recorded with four injured. The incidences were at Kennedy High School, at Paine College, and East English Village Preparatory Academy’s parking. In all the locations there only one victim was found. However separate two incidences occurred at Paine College.

March: Two incidences with one life lost. The life was lost outside The Academy of Knowledge Preschool. The other case was at Benjamin Banneker High School’s parking; there were no casualties.

February: Four cases, three injured, no deaths. The locations include Georgia Regents University dormitory, outside University of Southern California, Charles F. Brush High School’s parking lot, and Salisbury High School’s campus. One person was injured in all the locations except that at Charles F. Brush High School.

January: The highest number on incidences occurred in this month; a total of twelve cases were recorded. The number of those who lost their lives was three while those injured were 12. The injuries were as follows, one at; North High School, Tennessee State University, Eastern Florida State College, Rebound High School, Widener University, the Hillhouse High School, and at Liberty Technology Magnet High School. Two were injured at Delaware Valley Charter School, and three at Berrendo Middle School. The deaths were at Los Angeles Valley College, at South Carolina State University, and Purdue University’s campus; one life was lost in each case.

Thee year 2013

December: Three cases recorded, two injured, and two killed. The two killings happed at Arapahoe High School’s hallway, while the injuries recorded at West Orange High School, and at the West Orange High School’s entrance, one person was injured in each location.

November: three incidences, six injured, no deaths experienced. Injuries were located as follows three at Brashear High School, two at Stephenson High School, and one at North Carolina A&T State University.

October: two cases, two died, and four injured. At Sparks Middle School’s basketball court a student opened fire killing two and injured two. In another case at Agape Christian Academy two were injured.

August: three incidences, one killed and three injured. During a north Panola High School’s football match a student opened fire killing one and injured two. At Carver High School; male student was injured. There were no casualties in the other incidence at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy although six gun shots were fired.

June: The most tragic incidence of the year was experienced in this month. Six lives were lost and four injured at Santa Monica, California. The shooting started from the criminal’s home where he killed his father and ended at the school library where a student revising for final year examinations died.

May: One incidence neither deaths nor injuries were recorded. The incidence was experienced at Ossie Ware Mitchell Middle School’s campus. A student’s mother fired towards the school to stop a student fight.

April: Three incidences, two killed and six injured. Two died and one was injured at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the other events three were injured at Grambling State University’s campus, and two at the New River Community College.

March: Only one incidence was recorded, one person died, zero injured. The incidence occurred at the University of Central Florida. The suspect took his life after threatening to kill his roommate.

January: The highest number of cases was recorded during this month; a total of nine cases experienced. Five lost their lives and 10 wounded in this month. The deaths were, one at Chicago State University and three at Hazard Community and Technical College. Injuries were witnesses as follows, three at Lone Star College–North Harri, two at Stevens Institute of Business and Arts, two at Price Middle School, one at Osborn High School, and one at Taft Union High School’s entrance.


The year 2012

December: The deadliest attack that our question of study happened. The attack was at Sandy Hook Elementary School[9]. Adam Lanza killed his mother, twenty first-grade children, four teachers, the principal, and the school psychologist. Two extra persons were injured in the event.

October: Three cases; two killed and four injured. One was killed at Banner Academy, and one at University of South Alabama. The four injuries were recorded at the University of Southern California campus during a Halloween party.

September: Only one case war recorded where a student fired severally at the ceiling, the teacher tackled the student and was taken to court under police custody. The location was at Normal Community High School.

August: two cases, three injuries, no deaths. One was injures at Perry Hall School’s cafeteria. Two shots were fired by Robert Gladden. The other case was at Hamilton High School’s parking, two persons were injured.

April: One incident, seven killed and three injured. At Oikos University shooting L. Goh, opened fire and killed seven students and left three injured. The man was believed to be mentally challenged therefore was taken for treatment before trial.

March: One incidence, two deaths, zero injured. It was a murder-suicide at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville. A fired teacher returned to school killed the head teacher of the school then took his life too.

February: One case, three dead, and three injured. The attack happened at Chardon High School shooting. A student who was armed opened fire ten timed towards his colleagues at a cafeteria, three boys died on the spot while three others were injured.

January: one case, one injured. The incident occurred at the North Forest High School, a student fired at fellow students out of eager after being bullied.

The year 2011

December: two cases, two deaths and two injuries were recorded. The two Harwell Middle School students were killed during basketball team trials. The two injured students were from Radford University.

October: one case, zero killings, one injured. This was the Cape Fear High School shooting, a student by the name Underwood shot his fellow student at the neck. He was arrested and charged for attempted murder.

March: three case; one killed, and seven injured. One was injured at Martinsville West Middle School, five at Worthing High School, and one at Highlands Intermediate School’s campus. The murder was at Worthing High School.

January: one incident; two killed and two injured. The location of the crime was at Millard South High School

The year 2010

December: one incident; one injury and no death recoded. The attack took place outside Aurora Central High School. In November there was also one case at Marinette High School, where one life was lost.

October: two incidents; one killed and two injured. A student was killed at Alisal High School’s athletic field. In another case at Kelly Elementary School two were injured.

September: one killed and one injured at the University of Texas, the shooter took his life after injuring a fellow student. In another case at Mumford High School two students were wounded.

March: one employee injured and another injured at Ohio State University,

February: four cases recorded; four deaths and 6 injuries. The injuries were as follows, two at Deer Creek Middle School, one at Northern Illinois University, three at University of Alabama where also three lives were claimed, another death was experienced at the Todd Brown at Discovery Middle School.

2.3 USA Gun Laws

In the recent past, the debate on gun control in the United States of America has been on the rise as a result of several cases of mass killings by gunmen in public settings.  For instance, in 2015 there were two deadly mass shootings that at a church in Charleston, South Carolina and at a community centre in San Bernardino, California whereby 23 people in total were killed[10]. Learners in elementary, high schools and universities are not exceptional to such shootings. In December 2012, 20 schoolchildren were shot and killed by gunmen in Newtown, Connecticut[11]. This prompted Obama to take series of executive actions in 2016 aimed at controlling gun violence in addition to extending federal background checks on most gun purchasers. I therefore devote this section of the research paper to review Federal gun laws.


2.3.1 Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968

This Act which was enacted by the 90th United States Congress to regulate firearms industry and firearms owner at the federal level. The passing of this Act was prompted by the assassination of U.S. president JF Kennedy in 1963 by a gun purchased by mail-order. The forerunners of the passage of Gun Control Act included the Senate Bill 1975 of 1963 aimed at regulating the shipment of firearms between states and the Senate Bill 1592 of 1965 that sought to introduce amendment to the Federal Firearms Acts of 1938. The primary focus of the Act is to regulate the sale of firearms between States by prohibiting transfer of firearms from one state to another except amongst licensed importers, dealers or manufacturers.

The Gun Control Act was enhanced by the passage of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in 1993 which created a background check system. This was facilitated by the establishment of National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) making it mandatory for licensed firearms dealers and sellers to thoroughly inspect the criminal record of firearms purchasers. Under Article 18 U.S.C. 992 (d), the Act creates categories of people to whom the sale of firearms was unlawful. These categories include: persons below 18 years, the mentally disabled, drug addicts, those with criminal records, illegal immigrants, those that have renounced their American citizenship, as well as dishonorably discharged military personnel[12]. In an open letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to all Federal Firearms Licensees, dated 21st September 2011, it was stated that in addition to categories of persons in 18 U.S.C 992 (d), holders of state-issued marijuana cards are automatically prohibited from transporting or shipping of firearms or ammunition[13].

Besides Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, other incorporated Acts of Gun Control Act are: NICS Improvement Act of 2008 and Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA). The NICS Improvement Act of 2008 was passed to address the loopholes in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System that led to Virginia Tech Shooting by a person who had been ruled a danger by a Virginia court. FOPA on the other hand is federal law that revised a number of provisions in Gun Control Act.

2.3.2 The second Amendment of the U.S. constitution

The federal government has the sole mandate of setting the minimum standards for firearm regulation in the U.S. with States having their individual laws providing further restrictions. According to the second amendment of the U.S. constitution, “a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and possess firearms shall be protected.” Court rulings in the country’s Supreme Court citing this amendment have withheld the right of individual states to regulate firearms[14]. In America, gun ownership is a birth right as well as being an important element of the country’s heritage. This explains why America with less than 5% of the world’s total population has the highest percentage of the world’s civilian-owned guns estimated at 35-50%. Hence, the U.S. is ranked first in firearms per capita worldwide with the highest homicide-by-firearms rate of all most developed countries[15].

2.3.3 Federal Firearms Act (FFA) of 1938

The Act makes it mandatory for gun importers, manufacturers and sellers to obtain a federal license. In addition, the Act required that those responsible for issuing federal licenses to keep and maintain records of firearms purchasers. It is also illegal under FFA to transfer firearms to ‘prohibited’ categories of people such as those with active criminal records as well as mentally disturbed persons.

2.3.4 The National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934

The National Firearms Acts (NFA) imposes tax on manufacture and transportation of certain firearms defined by the Act. The Act further imposes an occupational tax on entities and individuals, who manufacture, import or deal with NFA firearms. There is also a provision in the Act requiring all NFA firearms to be registered with the Treasury Secretary. The enactment of the Act by the Congress was as a result of increased firearms exposure to civilians and associated crime activities as these firearms were used in crime. Therefore, the intent of the Act is to prohibit transactions in NFA firearms. NFA required that a person possessing unregistered firearm to apply for registration with Treasury Secretary. The information given by firearm possessor to the Treasury Department could be supplied to State authorities for use in prosecution in case a person possessing the firearm violates State laws.


2.3.5 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF or ATFE)

This is a federal law enforcement agency under U.S. Department of Justice responsible for investigation and prevention of federal offenses involving unlawful manufacture, use and possession of firearms and explosives. It is also the mandate of ATF to regulate through licensing the possession, transportation and sale of firearms, explosives and ammunition in interstate trade.

2.4 Concealed Carry Law

Concealed carry refers to carrying of weapons such as handgun in a concealed or hidden manner in public. Only those persons with concealed carry permits/licenses are allowed to carry these firearms in public places such as schools. Besides federal laws governing concealed carry of guns in public places, several states have enacted their individual laws. According to National Conference of State Legislature, the following states have laws mandating public universities to allow guns on college grounds: Arkansas, Colorado, Oregon, Kansas, Mississippi, Texas, Idaho, Utah and Wisconsin. The passing of Georgia House Bill 280 (also known as the campus carry bill) made Georgia the tenth U.S. state to enact such a law. This implies that all public university students aged above 21 year with a firearm license in these States are legally allowed to carry a concealed firearm to lectures and within campus. However, Minnesota has a narrow version of campus carry law allowing only visitors to carry guns while faculty, staff and students are prohibited from carry guns. In addition to universities, these laws authorize district schools to allow individuals with concealed carry licenses to carry handguns on school property. For instance, Kansas HB 2052 permits the chief administration officers of school districts to allow employees including teachers with concealed carry permit to carry handgun on school grounds. Arkansas SB 896 also permits church-sponsored private K-12 schools to allow individuals with concealed gun license to carry gun to school compound. Other laws authorizing school districts to allow their staff member with concealed gun license to carry handguns to school compounds include: Tennessee HB 6, South Dakota HB 1087, Oklahoma HB 1622 and Texas HB 1009. These laws have seen many district school students attending school with guns they steal from their ‘careless’ parents who don’t store their licensed firearms properly. These students have ended shooting their fellow students as well as their teachers. For instance, in October 21, 2013, a 12-year student at Sparks School, Sparks, Nevada fatally shot his teacher and wounded two of his colleagues using his parents’ handgun. In the following year, January 14, a 12-year old student at Berrendo School, Roswell, New Mexico walked into a school gym and shot at his fellow students critically wounding his schoolmates and a teacher.

The enactment of campus carry law by these states has been facilitated by increased number of deadliest mass shootings on campus colleges that have claimed hundreds of lives since 1966[16]. However, study has shown that campus carry laws are likely to escalate instances of violence in campuses. Hence, allowing students in campus to carry guns cannot reduce mass shootings in college campuses as these laws will increase campus shooting, suicides and homicides. The study was based on FBI study findings of 160 active-shooter situations from 2000-2013. According to FBI study, an armed civilian only managed to stop one in 160 active-shooter situations while 21 in 160 active-shooter situations were stopped by unarmed civilian[17].

Although it is a general belief that a state with more armed civilian has a large number of people to stop an attack, research findings have shown otherwise. For instance, research has shown that states with higher ownership rates had a large number of deaths resulting from gun-related homicides. That is, there exists a direct relationship between state’s gun ownership rates and firearm homicide rates. According to the study, the situation is different for states with strictest gun control laws which reported lower rates of gun-related deaths. The strictness of a state’s gun laws is dependent on the state’s legislative strength in terms of ability to curb trafficking of firearms, strengthened background checks on firearms buyers as well as the number of firearms restricted in public places. The study concluded that states with ability to enact and employ strictest gun control laws witness reduced number of gun related homicides. The study disapproved the misconceived theory of more guns equals less violence in terms of public shootings and homicides[18].

2.5 Police Responses to School Shootings

In Columbine High School, gunmen shot at people indiscriminately and set off bombs. The police response in this incident has been termed as slow-motion as the response team took about 30-minutes to enter the building. This response has been termed ‘pathetic’ and strongly criticized for not being dynamic. The response team that comprised of the special weapons and tactic (SWAT) officers responded slowly by moving into the scene very deliberately. Television footage of the incident showed group of SWAT officers slowly surrounding the institution. In their defense, the team argued they are primarily trained for hostage and drug raids situations and not active shooting situations[19]. Secondly, according to Colorado police officer, the state of confusion at the scene such as shutting down of fire alarm, down-pouring of water from sprinkler, gunfire, bombs, wounded and screaming victims attributed to the slow police response as the police did not establish immediately how to address the situation.  According to critics[20], the lives of many students, teachers and school workers could have been saved if the response team moved in more quickly. The Columbine HS shooting has since shaped police response to mass school shootings through weapon upgrades, significant improvement in officer armament and wireless communication technology enhancement aimed at helping response teams to deal with active-shooters. This has enabled the police to respond promptly to mass school shootings to freeze, stabilize and neutralize the threat. In addition, the police have adopted new policies for active shooters in schools. Under these new policies, the police should enter the building and try to neutralize the threat immediately instead of surrounding the building and waiting for the SWAT team.

The Virginia Tech shooting in April 2007 that lasted for nine minutes left at least 31 people including the shooter dead. City police officers and those from the institution took three minutes to dash across the institution to the scene. On arrival, the police took five minutes to break into the chained-shut building. While inside the building, the police rushed towards the sound of gunfire. On seeing the police, the shooter, identified and Seung-Hui Cho shot himself on the head after the police shot through the doors and died alongside his victims. Unlike Columbine HS shooting, the way the police responded to this shooting has been praised by noting that their quick responses saved many lives that could have been lost if the police took much time to respond. The plan the police adopted saved their lives as well as those of students, teachers and other workers at the institution[21].

During Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012, twenty children aged 6 to 7 years and 6 adult staff member were shot and killed by an active shooter[22]. After receiving 911 calls, the police took four minutes to arrive at the scene. The police took five minutes before entering the building where they found 20-first graders and six staff member dead[23]. The reason why the police took five minutes before entering the building was distraction by the outside scene in which they took time to encounter an ‘unknown man running’ in the school compound with ‘something in his hand’. Although it is believed that this distraction slowed police response that could otherwise have saved lives, reports indicate that the active shooter killed himself immediately after police arrival at the scene[24].





3.1 Introduction

Research methodology refers to the systematic process of acquiring data and the necessary information for the purpose of analysis of the research problem. In this case, the researcher seeks to determine whether teachers should be armed while in elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities. This section of the study presents the relevant methods and tools that were used during the current research. This section outlines the diverse methodologies such as the research design, sampling techniques, research instruments, data sources and subsequent analysis and consideration of reliability and validity aspects are considered. The basic procedure of the chapter is guided by the deductions and observations in the literature review that have been reviewed in the previous sections or chapters.


3.2 Research design

The research design refers to the overall strategy that the researcher chooses to integrate the different components of the study in a coherent and logical way, thereby, ensuring effective analysis of the research problem. It constitutes the blueprint for the collection, measurement, and analysis of data. In this study, the researcher used selected case study design in answering the research questions and aims. The study involves qualitative and quantitative analysis of data from various cases of use of firearms in schools within the USA. This research also used mixed analysis methods, that is, both qualitative and quantitative approaches. By using qualitative methods of descriptive statistical methods, the findings were analyzed. A mixture of qualitative and quantitative design was used. Quantitative design has the capability of collecting a large amount of data and making meaningful deductions from it while comparing it with information available through qualitative design.

3.3 Sampling Techniques

Sampling is the selection of a small population out of a large group for purposes of investigating the whole population.  Data is gathered on a small part of the whole parent population or sampling frame, and it is used to provide information on what the whole picture is like. Sampling was used mainly because in reality there was not enough time, energy, money, man-power and equipment to determine every response from all people. Sampling provides a good insight of what the real situation is on the ground.

The debate on whether school teachers should be armed has been ongoing in the digital spheres since the inception of internet. Platforms like provide the means through which people express their opinions regarding controversial issues. is a free platform available in the internet for all people to discuss important matters affecting them. It is an important research tool which helps researchers to get public opinions regarding issues in society through polls, comments and opinions.


3.4 Research Tools

The main tools used in carrying out this study include books, articles and the internet. All information from past school shootings and armed teachers was obtained from primary sources which include news websites, books, case studies, interviews, surveys,  articles and police statements. Secondary data was obtained from people’s opinions as expressed in books, articles and high quality websites. The computer was used in researching, collecting and analyzing data. Microsoft Office Word was used in processing the findings in written format while Microsoft Excel was used in data analysis. All charts, tables and graphs were created from primary and secondary data using M.S. Excel.


3.5 Sample size and Sources of Data

A total of 200 out of 300,000 opinions regarding the subject matter were randomly sampled and reviewed. A sample of the top 100 reasons supporting the arming of teachers and top 100 reasons against the arming of teachers were analyzed. The information obtained from the views expressed from the sample was analyzed qualitatively. Qualitative information was also obtained from peer reviewed articles, surveys, publications and researches carried out by renowned scholars, media houses and universities.

A survey was carried out by Alfred University researchers to rate sixteen possible reasons that led to school shootings. They were given questionnaires each and they were supposed to mark whether they strongly disagree or they strongly agree with the reasons given. The answers were tabulated and analyzed using graphical methods for easier comparison.


3.6 Reliability and Validity

3.6.1 Reliability

The reliability of a research concerns the extent to which the research yields the same results on repeated trials. Although unreliability is always present to a certain extent, there is generally a good deal of consistency in the results of a quality instrument gathered at different times. The tendency toward consistency found in repeated measurements is referred to as reliability. From previous researchers, case studies and questionnaires are reliable methods of providing information. This is coupled with the fact that various respondents gave their opinions concerning the subject. In the current research, it is agreed that the sources of data used are reliable. Most of the sources used are verified sources of news on real life events. Other sources such as peer reviewed journals, books and articles add an element of reliability to the findings. If the study is repeated by somebody else, they will arrive at similar conclusions.


3.6.2 Validity

Validity is the extent to which an instrument measures what it is supposed to measure and performs as it is designed to perform. It is rare, or nearly impossible, that an instrument be 100% valid, so validity is generally measured in degrees. As a process, validation involves collecting and analyzing data to assess the accuracy of an instrument. There are numerous statistical tests and measures to assess the validity of quantitative instruments, which generally involves pilot testing. Since information used in the study originated from personal opinions on the subject matter, the validity of the findings is absolute and beyond reasonable doubt.




4.1 Introduction

The chapter presents the illustration, the examination and the finding of primary data collected using questionnaires and case studies. The researcher has presented, analyzed and discussed the findings using tables, bar graphs and pie charts. The information obtained from the opinions of people pro and anti-arming of teachers is also presented in this section.


4.2 Opinion polls on whether teachers should be armed



Table 1: Should teachers be armed?

Response Percentage (%)
YES 56
NO 44


4.3 History of school shootings


Table 2: History of US school shootings since 2010

Year Number of shooting cases Deaths Injured
2017 6 6 7
2016 15 9 26
2015 21 21 41
2014 36 17 37
2013 26 20 35
2012 11 41 16
2011 18 5 12
2010 11 8 13


4.4 Causes of school shootings

Response (strongly agree or strongly disagree) on the causes of school shootings

Table 3: Causes of school shootings

Rank Reason For School Shootings % of Respondents Agreeing
1 To revenge on their assailants 87
2 To punish those who pick on them 86
3 Shooters do not value life 62
4 Shooters are victims of domestic violence 61
5 Shooters have mental problems 56
6 Shooters have easy access to firearms 56
7 Shooters have poor relationship with parents 55
8 Shooters are abused at home 54
9 Shooters drink alcohol or use illicit drugs 52
10 Shooters are anti-social and have no friends 49
11 Shooters watch violent videos, movies and games 37
12 Shooters live in a violent neighborhood 34
13 Other kids encourage them to shoot 28
14 Teachers do not care about their needs 26
15 They fear for their safety 20
16 Shooters are bored 18





5.1 Reasons for School Shootings

From the survey conducted by Alfred University[25], It was observed that many mass shootings at schools occur because of students who are on a revenge mission of punishing those who hurt them. While some students carry guns to punish teachers who they are not in good terms with, some students aim to punish their colleagues and even other innocent classmates. 87% of the respondents agreed that students go on a shooting spree for revenge reasons.  Revenge aims to punish those who pick on theme. A further 62% of the respondents strongly agreed that shooters do not value life. They take away their lives and the lives of other people because life makes no sense to them. Evidence also suggests that some shooters may be having domestic problems since 61% of the respondents strongly agreed so. Factors which ranked at the bottom include boredom, fear for their own safety, and encouragement from other students to shoot and insufficient care from their teachers.

Furthermore, the researchers[26] found out some variations based on gender. According to boy respondents, the main reasons for shootings include revenge to those who hurt the attackers, revenge to those who pick on them, revenge on bullies, use of drugs, violence at home, mental problems and insufficient value for life. Girls strongly agreed that shooters go on a shooting spree because other kids pick on them, to make fun of school bullies, to take their revenge on bullies, because of physical and emotional abuse at home, low value for life and due to constant physical violence they witness elsewhere or at home.

Respondents also strongly agreed that media plays an important role on firearm-related violence. Children and adults who watch videos, movies and video games that are full of violence and mass shootings are more likely to threaten other people’s lives or even shoot them. For them, it is their right to exercise what they have learnt from the media as a form of self-protection against aggressors.


5.2 Mass shooting Investigations

It is common in the United States of America to hear gun promoters urging people to get armed in order to stop mass shootings. For instance, following each shooting in schools, people always divide themselves into two groups; those supporting arming of teachers and those against.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut[27], researchers investigated the reasons behind the increased rates of mass shooting of innocent unarmed civilians. One of the possible reasons is the ease with which a person can get a firearm. America is a more armed society compared to other countries. It is not possible to count the number of firearms possessed by Americans because most of them are not registered and the government is not able to track all firearms. Studies from independent organizations point out that the rate at which Americans acquire guns is higher than the population growth rate in the Unites States of America. At the moment, almost every household has a firearm. In some cases, even children have guns, waiting to use them.

There is no evidence to prove the theory that more guns enhance more security. On the contrary, more guns in the hands of the wrong people always lead to mass shootings. Arming every American will not prevent mass shootings because the possession of guns does not make a person immune to being shot. It depends on who gets the firearm out and shoot first. In fact, evidence suggests that people in carrying concealed firearms can also be shot before they take the arms out. There appears to be a close connection between proliferation of guns and the rise in mass shootings in schools[28].

Armed civilians are at the risk of dying when intervening during mass shootings. This is because most firearm holders are not nice marksmen. They can shoot and miss the target or panic when shooting and attract the attention of the shooter. In a statement issued by the police following the mass shooting in New York City, they stated that armed civilians are more likely to shoot and miss the target as compared to the police. In the process of confronting a gunman, some highly trained counterterrorism police officers ended up wounding nine innocent bystanders. If the police who are highly trained in criminal operational matters can harm innocent people, ordinary arm holders are more likely to create a messy scenario if they attempt to mitigate a shooting operation. The only disadvantage is that police cannot be everywhere to avert a shooting crisis. Arming teachers will not solve the problem either; it only exacerbates existing problems.

In one case, an armed civilian played a successful role in killing an active shooter in Florida. Literature indicates that one shooter opened fire at one of the welding workshops in Miami and killed 8 people while wounding three people. The assailant ran away on his bicycle. The courageous armed civilian who witnessed the shooting pursued the assailant using his car, shot him a few kilometres away and ran over him with his car. The law enforcers congratulated the vigilante for using his justifiable force in averting more potential killings. However, according to the police officers, such successful interventions from armed civilians are few and they only account for 1.6% of the total shootings in the last 5o years.

According to police reports[29], attempts of armed civilians to rescue people from shooters are rare. Furthermore, successful missions by civilians are even rarer. For instance, in the two instances of shootings that occurred in Mississippi and Pennsylvania in the 1990s, armed bystanders only started chasing the rampage shooters after the shooting had subsided. They had fled and hid from the shooters only to follow them afterward. Other cases in which armed civilians intercepted shooters led to tragic results as recorded by the law enforcers. The police reports showed that civilian intervention in one of the shopping malls led to loss of more lives and a hostage scenario.

When Brendan McKown, a licensed firearm holder, confronted a man on a shooting rampage, he was smeared with many bullets by the assailant. The assailant wounded more than six other civilians until he was forced to surrender to the police after a short-lived hostage standoff. McKown recuperated some months later from a coma. In another case which occurred in Texas in 2005, a civilian known as Mark Wilson tried to fire his handgun at a rampage shooter who shot him  dead I the county courthouse. It should be noted that Mark was a licensed gun holder and firearm instructor. The armored assailant was using an AK-47 assault rifle which could not be compared to the civilian’s handgun. The cases were not enlisted in the mass shooting lists of the year because less than four people died in total.

In a bid to become heroes and heroines, many people lose their lives in the hands of shooters. People who fight for guns rights always credit the end of a shooting rampage at the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia in 2002 to firearm holders. Although the shooter was killed by student gun holders, gun enthusiasts do not disclose the fact that the gun holders were active or former law enforcers who had enough experience in dealing with criminals. At the same time, they fail to mention that the killer was shot only after his ammunitions ran out. The case is often cited as a successful scenario in which licensed gun holders ended a shooting scenario by killing an active shooter. However, the case did not include ordinary folks according to police reports. This therefore means that civilians do not possess enough experience to stop an active shooter.

In response to civilians’ participation in counteracting active shooters, the police always advise people to run away and hide in safe places. For instance, barely a week after the Dark Knight screening in Houston city, the police warned armed civilians against participating in cases of active shootings. In its video, the Department of Homeland Security advised that people should run away and hide from active shooters or fight back if it is the last resort. The report makes no reference to civilians attacking the assailants using firearms however experienced they may be.

Law enforcers are always first to castigate the civilian use of firearms. According to them, using firearms for in killing or warding off criminals should always remain the work of highly trained police officers. Civilians should not be given lethal weapon as the weapons may find themselves in the hands of dangerous gangs who may end up disturbing peaceful co-existence of people. Dangerous firearms include the M-5, AR-15 and AK-47 assault rifles and all sorts of ultra-high velocity weaponry. Although the federal gun regulation laws were enforced, people still have lethal firearms illegally. Killers still wield assault weapons at crime scenes.

Restricting access to firearms could be one of the ways of preventing serial shooters in their course. It may help in preventing gun violence in schools and public places. However, more stringent gun laws are not the ultimate solution to prevention of gun violence in the United States of America. The mental status of people should always be checked and taken seriously. Mentally ill people should be separated and secured. They should not be allowed to access guns or any other lethal weapons which may lead to loss of lives. An investigation conducted by the New York Times in the year 2000 on 100 shootings discovered that more than a half of the assailants suffered from serious mental disorders. In fact, many of the mass shootings are suicide mission which end up claiming the lives of more people other than the assailants.  More than half of the school shooters took their lives after killing innocent people while half of the rest wait to be apprehended by the police or get shot in the police interventions.

It is no surprise that mental problems are among the causes of school shootings. First, people with mental disorders are most likely to perform dismally in school. This means that they are likely to have a sense of resentment towards successful academicians and teachers. In order for them to vent their anger, they try to kill themselves or people whom they see responsible for their poor performance in schools. Mental illness may also motivate some shooters to look for alternative ways of satisfying their quest for media attention. Unfortunately, one of the ways of doing so is through school shootings and shooting people in social gatherings. Mental problems like paranoid schizophrenia and morbid depression can have suicidal consequences. One of the ways of enhancing safety of the public is by limiting access of people with mental disorders to lethal firearms. Some states share records of mental health with federal authorities to facilitate the process. However, it is not possible to detect all mental illnesses. If detected, it is not easy to limit the firearms mentally ill people are able to access. Important policy enforcers still lack crucial mental health records which should be scrutinized when conducting criminal investigations.

According to research carried out by the Medical College of Wisconsin, mass shootings in schools and public arenas should be treated as public health scenarios which need total attention of all stakeholders. Policy makers should treat school shootings as public health emergencies which need urgent scrutiny. Mass shootings are similar to viral outbreaks such as the outbreak of Ebola virus or Swine Flu which demand the deployment of the country’s experts.

In order to reduce the dangers of repeat mass shootings, progress should be made concerning the politics of firearms. All measures provided by gun promoters in ensuring safety do not seem to work. According to gun enthusiasts, gun regulators the work of the government in conducting background checks, creating purchase waiting times and tracking the use of firearms constitutes infringement of people’s constitutional rights. It is clear that gun enthusiasts care too much for the rights as opposed to the security of the general public. Gun enthusiasts have advocated for the rights of people to have guns that Democrats cannot date attack their position. They have helped Republicans enshrine the gun rights in their party platform. Politicians have not provided the right political climate of advancing evidence-driven discussions on gun ownership.

While policy makers remain nonchalant on the effects of allowing free circulation of firearms without coming up with and equation prevention measures for violence meted against innocent lives, shooters cerebrate. Gun violence in shopping malls, schools, universities, colleges and religious institutions continue to increase. Gun violence can happen anywhere and anytime for as long as gun holders, mentally unstable gun owners or revenge mongers roam in the wild. The next stopover could be anybody’s home, a hospital or that peaceful learning environment in the neighborhood.


5.3 Expert Opinions on why teachers should not be armed

The question of whether teachers should or should not be armed has always sparked public interest following mass shootings in schools and social places. The real debate lies on the balance between the constitutional right of protecting oneself through the acquisition of a firearm and the security of the public in the day-to-day life. While some people claim that it is possible to fight gunfire with ore gunfire, others claim that a greater evil cannot cure evil. Despite the gun control debate, people seem to be at loggerheads regarding the arming of teachers to enhance security in learning institutions[30].

The issue of arming teachers came to the limelight in many States in the United States of America and civil societies following the murder of twenty students and six staff members by a lone gunman in an elementary school in Newton Connecticut. The incident occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Details of the shooting are provided in the preceding section of this research paper. After the shooting, the National Rifle Association-funded report stated that it is important to add an extra layer of security in all schools. According to the report, one highly trained and armed security official should be posted in each school for faster response in case of an active shooting in a learning institution.

Arguments on the contrary state that the presence of armed security officers in learning institutions in the pretext of enhancing security and safety make schools military centers and not leaning institutions. People of contrary opinions opine that schools should be serene and safe havens where leaning should take place without the learners feeling threatened by the presence of armed security forces.


After the Newton shooting, house representatives of two national principals stated that armed police officers can convey the likelihood of a security breach and cause panic instead of instilling safety. According to them, arming teachers may be a better alternative but it will not even achieve the purpose since it will do more harm than good.

Money is among the motivating factors in the question on firearms. Gun manufacturers, gun sellers and marketers rake in millions of money while innocent civilians end up losing their lives. The government also receives a lot of revenue in terms of taxes levied on ammunitions and firearms. Guns and ammunitions alone create more than sixteen billion American dollars yearly sales income and six billion tax revenue for the government according to reports from regulatory and financial bodies. Training of staff on matters dealing with guns will cost each state millions of dollars and yet the value of innocent lives remains priceless.

The main point is that American families, including the families of shooters want their children to be safe in schools and yet they do not know how. The security approach is not definite. While some want teachers to be armed, others want other intervention measures. This section explores the arguments of people who are against the arming of teachers. The answers are from experts from various fields as well as parents from various geographical locations, races, socio-economic backgrounds and schools of thought.

According to Kermit Roosevelt, a professor of Constitutional Law in the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania, teachers should not be armed. According to him, people may feel safer when having a security guard or a teacher with a gun in the school compound when an attack happens. However, they will feel threatened if the same weapon is wielded during parent-teachers meetings, parent-teachers; conferences, examinations, teacher-student altercations, musical concerts, sports and other social activities. Guns are always dangerous no matter where they are used. Arming teachers will only aggravate the situation and cause more guns to find their places in the hands of the wrong people. Furthermore, Roosevelt opines that gun accidents kill more people on a daily basis. In case a gun accident happens in a learning institution, the students, teachers and parents will all feel threatened.

Gerald Schoenle is a chief of police at the university of Buffalo Police Department. According to him, professional law enforcers commit deadly mistakes in spite of the thorough training they undergo. It will be suicidal to arm teachers regardless of the intensity of training they will undergo since they are dealing with innocent people directly. Permitting teachers who have basic understanding of the operation of firearms to carry firearms will not only be detrimental to the teachers, it will also expose all people in the vicinity to danger. First of all, the weapon may be snatched from the teachers by mentally unstable teachers students or other workers who are on a suicidal mission leading to deaths. Secondly, the police intercepting the assailant may mistake armed teachers for the assailant and lead to more loss of life. Thirdly, the armed teachers may shoot innocent bystanders since the teachers are not trained marksmen.

Cindi Love is the executive director of the ACPA —College Student Educators International. Members of the association oppose arming of teachers since the passing of the Utah law allowing the carrying of concealed firearms in 2004. According to ACPA —College Student Educators International, guns can be owned but not be allowed in learning institutions. They state that increased availability of guns in learning institutions pose high risks to all people within the vicinity. In case one person gets stressed, upset or wishes to go on a revenge mission, the lives of innocent students, teachers, visitors and other workers within the school will be endangered. In case the firearms should be used in educational institutions, they should be handled by highly trained and recruited police officers. The police officers should be university police, state police or federal officers whose sanity and behaviors have been thoroughly vetted.

Randy A. Burba, the president of IACLEA, is also the head of public safety at the Chapman University. The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators holds that teachers should not be armed. According to Burba, teachers have a calling different from security officials. Mixing the calling of teachers with that of security officers will undermine the quality of education the teachers are able to deliver. Teachers should instead concentrate on knowledge dissemination while the work of policing should be left to law enforcing agencies. The work of teachers is to help students reason better and solve problems so that they might not be involved in crimes. Teachers are trained to help people solve problems without using violence but by using brains. Arming teachers will only spoil their reputation as educators and enhance the criminal element in students. Students will grow up knowing that carrying a gun is normal.


Sandro Galea is a professor in the School of Public Health in Boston University. According to Galea, having guns in any environment, especially the learning environment is the greatest risk that any learning education can take. The presence of guns may lead to intentional harm, incidental harm, pre-meditated harm or even self-inflicted harm. People should think soberly and note that arming teachers should not fend off shooters just as heavy police officers in banks do not scare away bank robbers. Arming teachers to reduce school shootings is fictional with the aim of promoting guns and the loss of innocent lives. There is no reasonable argument which supports arming of teachers. Arming teachers makes them police workers and impedes their productivity, endangering their lives and the lives of students.


5.4 Public Opinion on why teachers should not be armed

Respondents from[31] equally gave their sentiments concerning the arming of teachers. Opponents of the idea stated many reasons to support their strong convictions that school teachers should not be armed. This section covers a sample of their opinions.

Teachers should not be armed because it is not logical. Leaning does not take place in tense environments. Teachers carrying firearms in whatever format does not make sense since teachers are trained to teach. Students will naturally copy what they see their teachers doing. This means that students will also start agitating for their rights to carry firearms to school. In the long run, there will be as many firearms as the number of people in educational institutions. Then the worst will happen. An agitated or rotated student or teacher will go on a shooting rampage, cause chaos and lead to many deaths. Furthermore, a shooter can easily visit the school masquerading as a normal visitor, snatch the gun from an unsuspecting teacher and wreak havoc on the purported policing teachers, students and other staff9.

Teachers should not be armed since it only increases the number of weapons available within the school premises. Reports indicate that some assailants may attack with machetes, knives or other crude weapons. Going by the narrative that teachers should be armed to counter the assailants, arming teachers with concealed machetes, knives and crude weapons of all sorts will not make sense. It will spoil the learning environment and create a military situation out of a learning institution9.

The security of all places is not the teachers’ job. The main duty of a teacher is to impart knowledge and help the students to understand classroom and practical concepts. All matters of security should be handled by trained security personnel. Just as the government employs teachers, it should also employ enough security personnel to provide a peaceful learning environment for students and to protect teachers. Giving teachers more responsibilities will undermine their work and produce worse graduates who know how to carry guns. The best option may entail hiring security officers carrying concealed firearms but moving freely within the school. Concealing the identity of security officers will give shooters a difficult time identifying them.

Teachers, together with other citizens who are not in the security forces, should not be armed. It is not possible to solve problems caused by guns by increasing more guns. The best solution is to remove all guns from people except those who are actively involved in national security matters. Teachers, students and any staff involved in the day-to-day learning activities of the school should not be allowed to carry firearms o any lethal weapons to the school environment. In so doing, the availability of lethal weapons shall decrease, helping in reducing deadly crimes in learning institutions.

Although teachers should naturally protect the all needs of the students, they are fallible. Teachers can get annoyed or even go insane. There are several reports of student-teacher disagreements which end up in beatings and much more. Assuming than an armed teacher cannot become insane or emotionally disturbed as to become a threat is the worst carelessness in a learning institution. No number of mental check-ups can guarantee mental stability at all times. People are bound to change and so do their decisions. Just like police officers turn against each other and kill their colleagues, teachers are also vulnerable. The case of teachers is worse because they are in contact with defenseless students and other staff members. Therefore, it is ridiculous to entrust lethal weapons to teachers whose next move you know nothing about.


5.5 Reasons why teachers should be armed

Arming teachers make them have the capacity of defending themselves from shooters. Many view the move of arming the teachers as a form of increasing insecurity in our schools but, such measures increase security and general safety[32]. Lawmakers are legislating laws which will allow teachers to be armed with handguns while in their duties. A school in Texas has adopted this law and allowed its teachers to carry a gun during school hours. Due to this reason, parents and lawmakers should encourage schools and guide them on how to best implement this improvement in security.

Most prominent people in the society have armed security inside and around their homes. They are fully aware that gun-free zones are an attraction for murderers. Even advocates championing for gun-free institutions have guns at their homes.

Some argue that gun is not meant for schools, they might be true or not. The reality is that they need this security although it is hard to believe. Take for example the statement “children should not get cancer”, the reality as much as this statement sounds correct it is not the reality. Let’s face the reality and address this issue with the seriousness it deserves. More loses of lives is expected if we don’t improve the security. So school needs armed employees to control the situation, we cannot wait until an attack occurs for us to act. Our children’s safety is key for the future of our country; therefore protecting them we are protecting our future.

Institutions with armed security officers have recorded fewer attacks over the years. Those who have this light in them have gone an extra mile in enforcing this legislation. Others are in the process since the exercise requires training and resources. In any attack recorded in the past, what could have prevented it from claiming more lives or any, is one well-trained and armed good person. If attackers knew that armed people are maintaining security in this schools makes all the difference. Nobody can plan to go into a gun-shop to commit murder since you fear you might find a more skilled person under watch who will take your life or injure you in the process.

The secure feeling the student possess when guns are around improves their performance in class. The child does not think much of his security but concentrates on his or her studies. From another perspective, the student will try as much as possible not to upset the teacher due to the fear of the gun. They perform better to reduce the chances of a teacher freaking out and shooting them. So they are a form of motivation towards hardworking and discipline.

There are thousands of gun circulating in the community but have never been used to destroy life. A gun by itself cannot commit murder, the handler commits it. You will never find a gun before the courts charged with murder. Therefore schools should be careful on who should and who should not be allowed to carry a gun to school. Selected teachers should apply for a carry permit; go through intensive training and counseling lessons. They should keep their guns away from the sight and access of students until they are needed. They should not carry then anyhow to intimidate their students. The storage places of this weapon should be guarded and free from the reach of students and other employees without a carry permit.

Some parents are assured that their kids are safe when they are close to an armed person. The law allows anyone of age to carry a gun, so long as he has the permit and training. Depriving teachers this right is a form of discrimination. They need to safeguard their lives as much as that of the president is guarded. Schools carry thousands of people and everyone has the right to good security and guns do better in providing it. From statistics those who carry gun acquire them legally; therefore, we should not take chances but enforce school’s security.

Police stations are not located in school compounds. There are those schools close to and far from police offices. The period of time between when the shooter and the police reach the crime scene vary[33]. A shooter only needs five minutes to attack and harm a whole class, therefore the police cannot save the situation since most stations are more than five minutes away from this institutions The more the time the more the destruction expected. To reduce the number of casualties, we should arm our teachers to control and calm the situation before the arrival of the police. The notion that the guns cause fear to children they are mistaken. Today kids play games using toy guns and love the feeling that they have guns. Therefore they love them and adore them.

Home-schooled students are protected by armed security guides. Students in public schools also deserve this protection. If teachers and other staff cannot provide it then who can do it? These students have parents and friends who love and care for them. To avoid upsetting these persons, teachers should be armed to protect the students.

Parents trust teachers. It is easy in the world today for parents to trust teachers with their kid’s lives. For example, during calamities such as hurricane and tornados teachers have saved thousands of children from perishing, therefore they can as well protect them from a gunman’s attack. This gives us another reason why teachers need to be armed during school hours.

In most cases, shooters escape after committing such crimes. Arming teacher will increase the chanced of gunning down these criminals. Killing these people will reduce their population and the attacks. When more of shooters are gunned down before they attack instills fear on those planning future attack. Through such efforts, our schools become safer day by day. Arming them will also give them the courage to face the attacker. An armed person cannot prevent an armed one from accomplishing his desires, but an armed one can.

Guns are not bad as people might brand them. They become dangerous when irresponsible and bad people have them. From all the above reasons we find that guns can prevent and stop gun shootings. On the other hand, they can reduce the aftermath of these attacks. For example, the attack at Sandy Hook could not have been that horrible if the teachers were armed. The lives lost could have been less.


5.6 Conclusion


It is not easy to give a conclusive answer to the question on arming of teachers. People have as diverse reasons for arming or against arming teachers as they are. Each side has reasons which they think are sufficient to warrant their stand. Opponents of arming of teachers claim that guns cannot solve security issues; they only aggravate the situation. Arming teachers will not solve the problem of mass shootings. Mass shooting is a social and psychological problem which must be solved as such. Arming teachers avails firearms which can be snatched from the teachers and used in massacres. Teachers may also go berserk and start shooting indiscriminately. Evidence suggests that armed highly trained police officers commit shooting mistakes. There are high chances that teachers with basic training on firearms will commit worse mistakes.

Proponents of arming of teachers claim that firearms can scare shooters away since they will be convinced of an even battlefield. They claim that arms can be used in engaging assailants before the police arrive. However, they fail to underscore the fact that teachers may shoot and miss during the shooting frenzy and cause more deaths. The neutral ground entails the provision of armed security guards in concealed dress codes since both sides cannot reach an amicable solution. Teacher should be left to teach while security guards do their work.



ABC7 San Francisco. “San Bernardino School Shooting: 2 Adults, 1 Student Killed”. ABC7 San Francisco. Last modified 2017. Accessed November 3, 2017.

Alfred University. “Alfred University: News: Lethal Violence In Schools: Why Do Shootings Occur?” Alfred.Edu. Last modified 2017. Accessed November 3, 2017.

Associated Press in Rockford. “One Dead And Others Injured In Washington State High School Shooting”. The Guardian. Last modified 2017. Accessed November 3, 2017.

Barron, J. (2012, December 14). Nation reels after gunman massacres 20 children at school in Connecticut. The New York Times. Retrieved from Html?pagewanted-all&_r=0

Bird Eye News. “Reason Behind School Shootings: Part 1… Story by Lauren Stidham | Bird Eye News”. Birdeyenews.Forrestbirdcharterschool.Org. Last modified 2017. Accessed November 3, 2017.

Debates Organization. “Should School Teachers Be Armed With Guns?”. Debate.Org. Last modified 2017. Accessed November 3, 2017.

Every Town Research. “The Long, Shameful List of School Shootings in America”. Everytownresearch.Org. Last modified 2017. Accessed November 3, 2017.

Gerard, F. J., K. C. Whitfield, L. E. Porter, and K. D. Browne. “Offender and Offence Characteristics of School Shooting Incidents”. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling 13, no. 1 (2015): 22-38.

Grapes, Bryan J. School Violence. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 2000.

Hasday, Judy L, and Judy L Hasday. Forty-Nine Minutes of Madness. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2013.

Herbert, Arthur (September 26, 2011). “Open Letter to All Federal Firearms Licensees.” U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Interdisciplinary Group on Prevention. “December 2012 Connecticut School Shooting Position Statement”. Journal of School Violence 12, no. 2 (2013): 119-133.

John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Study, October 2016.

Knight, Ben. “Two Dead, Three Critically Injured In US School Shooting”. ABC News. Last modified 2017. Accessed November 3, 2017.

Lang, Matthew. “Do Guns Affect Crime? Evidence Using a Direct Measure of Firearms”. SSRN Electronic Journal (2012).

Mark Gius 2017. The effects of state and Federal gun control laws on school shootings, applied economic letters

Meek, Sarah. “GETTING A GRIP ON GUNS: Rolling Out the Firearms Control Act”. South African Crime Quarterly, no. 1 (2006).

NDTV, Us. “Us School Shooting: Latest News, Photos, Videos on Us School Shooting – NDTV.COM”. NDTV.Com. Last modified 2017. Accessed November 3, 2017.

Newman, Katherine; Fox, Cybele, May 2009. Rampage Shootings in American High Schools and College Setting, 2002-2008. American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 52, No. 9, pp. 1286-1308.

Rediff News. “20 Children among 28 Dead In US School Shooting – Rediff.Com News”. Rediff.Com. Last modified 2017. Accessed November 3, 2017.

Richard 2013, the Striking Relationship between Gun Safety Laws and Firearm Deaths, American Journal of Public Health

Scherer, Lauri S. Gun Violence. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013.

The New York City Police Department (NYPD), 2012

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. (2013). Strategic approaches to preventing multiple casualty violence: Report on the national summit on multiple casualty shootings. Retrieved from

Utter, Glen H. “Guns And Contemporary Society: The Past, Present, And Future Of Firearms And Firearm Policy: V.1: Background To The Current Debate Over Firearms; V.2: Cultural Issues Related To Firearms In The United States; V.3: Current Controversies And Policy Recommendations”. Choice Reviews Online 53, no. 09 (2016): 53-3995-53-3995.

Velez, Mark. “Guns, Violence, and Schools: Policies to Prevent and Respond to School Shootings”. SSRN Electronic Journal (2013).

Velez, Mark. “Guns, Violence, and Schools: Policies to Prevent and Respond to School Shootings”. SSRN Electronic Journal (2013).



Appendix 1: Online Questionnaire

The questionnaire aims to collect information from American citizens on the question outlined below. All answers are submitted anonymously.

Tick as appropriate.

Should teachers be armed?



If YES, why?



If NO, why?



Appendix 2: Causes of school shootings in United States of America



What is your gender?


Gender Tick as appropriate


Do you strongly agree or strongly disagree with the following statements

(Tick where appropriate whether you strongly agree or strongly disagree with the statements)


Reason For School Shootings Strongly Agree Strongly Disagree
1. To revenge on their assailants
2. To punish those who pick on them
3. Shooters do not value life
4. Shooters are victims of domestic violence
5. Shooters have mental problems
6. Shooters have easy access to firearms
7. Shooters have poor relationship with parents
8. Shooters are abused at home
9. Shooters drink alcohol or use illicit drugs
10. Shooters are anti-social and have no friends
11. Shooters watch violent videos, movies and games
12. Shooters live in a violent neighborhood
13. Other kids encourage them to shoot
14. Teachers do not care about their needs
15. They fear for their safety
16. Shooters are bored



How do killers get their guns?

In 62 cases studied

How shooters acquire their guns Guns acquired
Legally 49
Illegally 12
Unknown 1


Types of guns owned by shooters


Types of guns owned by shooters % Number of Guns held
Semi-automatic handguns 68
Assault firearms 35
Revolvers guns 20
Shotguns 19










[1] Judy L Hasday and Judy L Hasday, Forty-Nine Minutes of Madness (Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2013).

[2] Barron, J. (2012, December 14). Nation reels after gunman massacres 20 children at school in Connecticut. The New York Times. Retrieved from html?pagewanted-all&_r=0

[3] The New York City Police Department (NYPD), 2012

[4] Glen H. Utter, “Guns And Contemporary Society: The Past, Present, And Future Of Firearms And Firearm Policy: V.1: Background To The Current Debate Over Firearms; V.2: Cultural Issues Related To Firearms In The United States; V.3: Current Controversies And Policy Recommendations”, Choice Reviews Online 53, no. 09 (2016): 53-3995-53-3995.

[5] Us NDTV, “Us School Shooting: Latest News, Photos, Videos on Us School Shooting – NDTV.COM”, NDTV.Com, last modified 2017, accessed November 3, 2017,

[6] Every Town Research, “The Long, Shameful List of School Shootings in America”, Everytownresearch.Org, last modified 2017, accessed November 3, 2017,

[7] Associated Press in Rockford, “One Dead and Others Injured in Washington State High School Shooting”, The Guardian, last modified 2017, accessed November 3, 2017,

[8] Ben Knight, “Two Dead, Three Critically Injured in US School Shooting”, ABC News, last modified 2017, accessed November 3, 2017,

[9] Rediff News, “20 Children among 28 Dead In US School Shooting – Rediff.Com News”, Rediff.Com, last modified 2017, accessed November 3, 2017,

[10] ABC7 San Francisco, “San Bernardino School Shooting: 2 Adults, 1 Student Killed”, ABC7 San Francisco, last modified 2017, accessed November 3, 2017,

[11] Mark Gius 2017. The effects of state and Federal gun control laws on school shootings, Applied economic letters


[12] Matthew Lang, “Do Guns Affect Crime? Evidence using A Direct Measure of Firearms”, SSRN Electronic Journal (2012).

[13] Herbert, Arthur (September 26, 2011). “Open Letter to All Federal Firearms Licensees.” U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

[14] Sarah Meek, “GETTING A GRIP ON GUNS: Rolling Out the Firearms Control Act”, South African Crime Quarterly, no. 1 (2006).

[15] U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. (2013). Strategic approaches to preventing multiple casualty violence: Report on the national summit on multiple casualty shootings. Retrieved from

[16] Newman, Katherine; Fox, Cybele, May 2009. Rampage Shootings in American High Schools and College Setting, 2002-2008. American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 52, No. 9, pp. 1286-1308.

[17] John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Study, October 2016.

[18] Richard 2013, The Striking Relationship Between Gun Safety Laws and Firearm Deaths, American Journal of Public Health


[19] Sarah Meek, “GETTING A GRIP ON GUNS: Rolling Out the Firearms Control Act”, South African Crime Quarterly, no. 1 (2006).

[20] F. J. Gerard et al., “Offender And Offence Characteristics Of School Shooting Incidents”, Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling 13, no. 1 (2015): 22-38.

[21] Mark Velez, “Guns, Violence, And Schools: Policies To Prevent And Respond To School Shootings”, SSRN Electronic Journal (2013).

[22] Rediff News

[23] Barron, J. (2012, December 14). Nation reels after gunman massacres 20 children at school in Connecticut. The New York Times. Retrieved from html?pagewanted-all&_r=0

[24] The New York City Police Department (NYPD), 2012

[25] Alfred University, “Alfred University: News: Lethal Violence in Schools: Why Do Shootings Occur?” Alfred.Edu, last modified 2017, accessed November 3, 2017,

[26] Bird Eye News, “Reason Behind School Shootings: Part 1… Story by Lauren Stidham | Bird Eye News”, Birdeyenews.Forrestbirdcharterschool.Org, last modified 2017, accessed November 3, 2017,

[27] Interdisciplinary Group on Prevention, “December 2012 Connecticut School Shooting Position Statement”, Journal of School Violence 12, no. 2 (2013): 119-133.

[28] Interdisciplinary Group on Prevention

[29] Lauri S Scherer, Gun Violence (Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013).

[30] Judy L Hasday and Judy L Hasday, Forty-Nine Minutes of Madness (Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2013).

[31] Debates Organization, “Should School Teachers Be Armed With Guns?” Debate.Org, last modified 2017, accessed November 3, 2017,

[32] Judy L Hasday and Judy L Hasday, Forty-Nine Minutes of Madness (Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2013).

[33] The New York City Police Department (NYPD), 2012

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