It should be clear to everyone that the gun control debate, which roared back onto the nation’s agenda with the terrible shooting last week in Florida, is fundamentally misguided. Yes, we care about our children. And no, “thoughts and prayers” are not enough. This time we must do something. But giving guns to teachers is clearly insufficient. What teacher would have time to draw their so-called “concealed weapon,” suddenly faced with an enraged, resentful young man holding an automatic rifle that is not concealed? The most likely reaction would be that of the Parkland school’s security guard, who cowered outside with his gun doing “nothing.”
Possessing a gun in itself is not decisive. It takes time to take a gun from a holster or pocket or from beneath a shirt. Under the circumstances, time is something the teacher will just not have.
Hence my proposal: the gun must not be concealed. It must already be out, in the teacher’s hand. Then it can be used instantly, with hardly a moment of hesitation. If there is to be legislation empowering teachers to carry guns, so-called “open carry” should be specified to include and indeed demand the most open form of carrying possible, which is also the most effective: hand around the grip, finger on the trigger.
I would not legislate that the safety should be off, though some would no doubt take the logic of this argument in that direction. After all, a mere flick of the finger will suffice to release the safety and permit rapid firing. It is reassuring to know that the time difference between safety on and safety off is negligible.
I add that, since a great deal of a teacher’s job involves pointing, whether at the blackboard or at students, so as to recognize them when they raise their hands, the gun, once unconcealed, could serve double duty as a pointer. And in case a student with her or his hand up happened to show signs of being a potential shooter, the advantage in the shoot-out to follow would be on the teacher’s side.
In addition, I think it is safe to say that seeing a gun in the teacher’s hand would discourage the sort of insubordination and chaos in the classroom of which so many schools complain. No doubt many other advantages would also ensue that our imaginations are as yet unable to visualize. But this should not discourage us from acting, and from acting now.