These 15 States Already Arm Teachers

The massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month has resulted in some of the most eloquent and moving speeches I’ve ever heard from young people – both at the March 14 School Walkout and at the March For Our Lives on March 24.

It also brought out some of the least eloquent words from Donald Trump, who suggested that schools should give “concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience — only the best.” They would be able to “immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions.”

Let’s not dignify Trump’s response with any attempt to explain its deep flaws.

If he had taken the time to consider the perspective of educators, Trump would have realized that most teachers have no desire to carry a firearm. But as a politician in thrall to the NRA, he prefers to push the idea of buying more guns.

That’s why a couple of teachers have started the #ArmMeWith movement, a direct response to the absurd notion that teachers carrying guns would keep schools safe.

“Arm me with the resources and funding needed to help students experiencing mental health issues, not guns,” the #ArmMeWith movement demands. It also asks for books, school supplies, time to address the emotional needs of students and “a world without fear.”

Both the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have come out strongly against the notion of guns in schools.

“We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators. Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that,” said Lily Eskelsen Garcia, NEA president.

Nevertheless, 15 states already allow guns in schools. This doesn’t mean that every teacher in these states carries a gun; Rather, it means that a teacher in at least one school district in these states is armed.

According to VICE, the 14 states already authorized school faculty to carry guns in the classroom before March 9 are: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Florida became the 15th state on March 9, when Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill allowing teachers to undergo training and bring guns into the classroom.

Another 16 states allow individual school districts to decide whether faculty may carry guns, but VICE found no instances of armed teachers in these states. To find out if you live in one of these 16 states, check this map.

Almost all the states that allow teachers to carry guns have done so in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut that killed 20 young children and 6 adults.

However, it’s hard to know how many teachers may be armed even in the states where it is allowed. As VICE explains,

That’s because school districts generally don’t have to report that information to state education authorities (Arkansas, Texas, and Missouri are the exceptions). And because the question of arming teachers is a sensitive school security matter, the votes often take place in executive session and behind closed doors.

Weirdly, this means that parents living in those states where teachers are permitted to carry guns may have no way of finding out if their child’s teacher is armed.

And there’s no one pattern across these states.

In Texas, for example, some teachers have been carrying guns to school for many years – but out of the state’s 1,023 school districts, only 172 allow teachers to carry firearms. In these districts, teachers can carry handguns or keep them locked up, and schools receive extra money to cover ammunition for practice and annual training.

In Utah, another state where teachers have had permission to carry guns for some time, any teacher may carry a gun in school, provided she has a concealed carry permit and the approval of a school administrator.

Indiana is another state that allows teachers to be armed, but so far only one school district has taken advantage of this policy.

Although these 15 states already provide the possibility of teachers carrying weapons, very few school districts have actually put this policy into practice.

I trained to become a teacher at the University of London, England. It didn’t include any training in the use of firearms — and I hope it never will in the future.

Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue/Flickr

55 comments

Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thank you!

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Ruth S
Ruth S7 months ago

Thanks.

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Margie F
Margie FOURIE7 months ago

Okay

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Renata B
Renata B8 months ago

The more people armed = the more chances to have shootings. This is a just logic, statistics. If civilians need to leave their homes with a gun it means that the state has failed. In the UK (like in many other countries) not even the normal police is armed. So, what is the difference with the US? Are we all pacifists? I doubt alas.

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Renata B
Renata B8 months ago

Paul B.: you seem to live in an alternate world. Well, in this world - especially in the West where I live and I know better - normal people do not carry arms. People do not own a gun for self-defence. We have the police and we are safe enough: a civilised country doesn't need citizens to go around with a gun in their pocket. That was the Wild West!!!! Ok, there are bad areas with criminals who go around with weapons. There are two points: 1. if only criminals (and of a certain type) carry guns then they are infinitely fewer armed people around and therefore much easier for the police to monitor them. 2. CRIMINALS DO NOT GO ON RAMPAGE killing people in schools or shopping centres. They either kill each other or they commit an offense, like a robbery. Can you calculate the difference of chances? Otherwise put: have you ever wondered why in Europe - for example - we don't have this problem? Terrorism, criminality ... all that together is a tiny percentage of what happens in your country. Can you spot the difference? We do NOT go around carrying guns: it is forbidden. A country that expect citizens to go around with guns is not a civilised country. Long way ahead. You see, we don't risk to go out for a stroll and find a maniac pointing a gun to us. But of course you make a lot of money selling weapons and money is everything, isn't it? Much more important than people's (and animals') lives. Can't you understand that this is ABSOLUTELY MAD???

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Teresa W
Teresa W8 months ago

tragic

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Paul B
Paul B8 months ago

OOPS, ...he would NOT look poorly on someone for defending themselves...

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Paul B
Paul B8 months ago

Lenore, try telling that to anyone who has someone pointing a gun at them. 99% of them would wish they had a way to save or protect themselves, and a gun is better than nothing. Jesus died for our sins, as he was supposed to do, but I would guess that he would look poorly on someone for defending themselves in the face of evil.

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Paul B
Paul B8 months ago

NO one is demanding anyone carry a gun they don't want to or aren't trained to do willing. I think it is smart not to publicize this information, other than the fact that a teacher, any teacher in any school, "may" have a gun to be used in self-defense. Criminals and crazies love gun free zones... that means no one will be there to stop them. Simply the threat of armed opposition is enough to have them look elsewhere, like thieves who avoid houses with dogs, especially larger dogs or burglar alarms, any deterrent that would pose a threat to their success. Most likely the dogs wouldn't do anything, but it isn't worth the risk. So if my kids were at a school that didn't have armed protection of some sort, I would be nervous about THAT school being on the list of the next crazy who decides to take action.

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Winn A
Winn Adams8 months ago

Just sayin . . . . . . . .

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