Will handguns in schools make students safer? One Arkansas high school is betting that they will.
A school in Clarksville Arkansas is taking drastic measures in response to school shootings in America, namely the one in Newtown, Connecticut last December: they are arming their teachers and staff with 9mm handguns. Every faculty member has undergone 53 hours of intensive firearm training in anticipation of the move. Clarksville High School Superintendent David Hopkins explained the reasoning behind arming teachers:
“The plan we’ve been given in the past is, ‘Well, lock your doors, turn off your lights and hope for the best,’” he told The Associated Press. “That’s not a plan.”
By completing the 53 hour training, various teachers, administrators and staff are now licensed security guards, and may be employed by the school in that capacity under Arkansas law.
The move makes a simple calculation, that the potential good done by preventing a mad man from going on a rampage in the school is more than the potential harm done through accidents or potential violence by the presence of the guns themselves. That’s not an easy choice to make, but the Arkansas high school may be overestimating the likelihood of a gun rampage, which always receive blanket news coverage, and underestimating the likelihood of gun accidents, which are much more common, but quickly forgotten by those not directly affected. It makes sense to take extra measures to protect innocent and vulnerable people, but having trusted armed people everywhere that people congregate seems like a problematic solution.