A couple weeks ago, I was talking with a Republican whose wife is a teacher. We talked about the school sentinel bill, which passed a Senate committee today. The Republican thought it was crazy. His wife would never want access to a firearm in school.
That’s probably true of a lot of teachers. But as we’ve seen in other states where teachers are lining up by the hundreds to take firearms training classes, it’s not true of all.
Let’s expand the discussion to all school personnel, administrators, janitors and others. There are many good reasons not to want firearms in schools. But one of the weakest arguments is that people who work in schools are somehow inherently incapable of responsibly using a firearm. In December, following the Newtown, Conn. shootings, Sen. Angie Buhl summed up the belief that people who work in schools are automatically unqualified to use firearms when she said, “I’m not sure a janitor is necessarily qualified to take down an armed shooter.”
Really? Because I bet there are a lot of janitors who served in the military. I bet there are a lot of janitors who own firearms and enjoy shooting.
And I bet there are a lot of school personnel who would be willing to take the 40 hours of training required in the sentinel bill. Unlike some, I believe 40 hours of training is a lot of training.
As I said before, there are many reasons not to want guns in schools, and this isn’t an endorsement of having arms in schools. But asserting that school personnel are too dumb, too timid, too unqualified or whatever to responsibly handle a firearm seems insulting to me.
The debate reminds me of one of the best teachers I had when growing up. I took two years of history classes from Mr. Villano. He was a great teacher of history and social studies.
Know what he did before becoming a teacher? He led an Army Ranger unit in Vietnam.
I think he was qualified to use a firearm.