The Only Solution for Protecting our Children is Practicing Constitutional Rights

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The Only Solution for Protecting our Children is Practicing Constitutional Rights

 

In times of crisis, emotions run high and people look for someone to blame. Or in this case, in light of recent events such as the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, people are looking to blame something: a gun. In 2022 alone, there have been 27 highly publicized school shootings, and since 2018 there has been a total of 119 school shootings,(1) so it’s completely understandable why we are feeling desperate to find a solution to nip events such as these in the bud. But when working towards solutions, we must make decisions based on facts, not feelings. Guns are inanimate objects that on their own cannot harm someone. But people can make choices to harm others with guns, along with many other objects, such as a car, a knife or their own bare hands.

 

Jason East, CEO of Florida-based firearms manufacturer Adams Arms, is tired of his industry being attacked when they have had no part in these mass shootings. No one went after Chevrolet for car accidents or go after the alcohol industry every time there is a drunk driving incident. We didn’t ban planes after 911. East is, like most Americans, tired of the bloodshed and tragedy that has been inflicted on so many children in schools across the country. And that is why he has laid out a detailed plan that includes calling upon Congress to fund teachers being armed. “I admire any teacher trained on the proper use of firearms or willing to be trained in securing the classroom, but something to consider is that in the U.S. they should be the second line of defense; behind the school’s structure allowing only one point of entry and being protected by an armed guard,” points out Adams Arms President Jason East.

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The History of Security Measures for Education and other National Defense Matters

 

Since the 1900s various federal agencies have created programs and funded security for public schools, as have state and local school boards and local law enforcement agencies.(2)  Even broader initiatives were implemented for school security following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Tragedy, such as the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (CSSI).(3) But as more and more of these tragedies occur and we continue to learn more, there is further measures we need to take.

 

Following the World Trade Center terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, after two planes were hijacked, a plethora of advanced proposals and procedures were ushered in, with the intention of ensuring better security for Americans. By November 2001, only two months after the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act had been passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. This law propelled the creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and heightened security measures at airports, which included more thorough baggage screening, expansion of federal air marshal services, and reinforced cockpit doors. But another big law was implemented the following year in 2002 to make plane flights safer: the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act. And among the earliest actions the TSA took was providing firearms training to pilots and other flight-deck personnel. By April 2003 the first armed pilots took the helm of commercial flights.(4)

 

Armed Civilians at Texas Church Saved 242 Parishioners in 2019

 

Churches have loosened gun restrictions since 2013, in response to the increase in mass shootings.(5) And in Texas in 2019 a mass church shooting-in-the-making was stopped in its tracks when an armed church congregant fired a shot from the back of the church and killed the assailant, who had just shot two congregants. Then four or five other armed church members also went after the shooter, and the situation was resolved within seconds, saving the other 242 parishioners.(6)

 

The Facts About School Shootings and Gun-Free Zones

 

Of course, pilots are not required to carry guns, and neither are church leaders and parishioners. And many of the arguments against arming America’s teacher are that it shifts their role from what they signed on for, which was to teach and not to have to make split second decisions as an armed security warrior.(7) That’s why this is only one part of the solution, since no teacher should be forced to carry a weapon in the classroom, and this is an optional preference. But it can’t hurt to offer this option, since 98% of mass shootings between 1998 and 2022 have occurred in gun-free zones.(8)

 

The Second Amendment: What it Guarantees and Why it Was Created

 

Another fact is that the second amendment states that the right to bear arms is guaranteed as one of our inalienable rights. To better understand this, it helps to take a look at why this amendment was  implemented into the Bill of Rights (and ten years beforehand in the Massachusetts Constitution). The wording of the Second Amendment is as follows: A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The reason the term “militia” is mentioned is because the colonists had to form militias when they were fighting for independence from the tyranny being imposed upon them by the British, who were attempting to seize arms from them.(9) There were also several violent incidents that occurred between the British troops and colonists, among the most famous of these is the Boston Massacre that took place in 1770, where British soldiers shot and killed unarmed civilians.(10) In essence, it could be argued that the right to bear arms was actually implemented to protect people from mass shootings.

 

The second amendment is an inalienable right for everyone, and that should apply to teachers that are trained and wish to conceal carry in the classroom. And as East says, teachers should be the second line of defense. “We have a largely untapped, highly skilled and passionate resource that is capable of altering the current course across every state,” says East. “I’m referring to the many men and women who are military veterans returning to civilian employment and sworn police officers facing burn out. These are people with a passion to protect and serve and many would gladly trade their current state of service for a focus on the community of a single school, its future adults, teachers and administrators.”

 

Police Officers and Military Veterans: An Untapped Resource

 

For several years police departments have struggled to recruit, hire and retain officers in the wake of protests, the pandemic, and defunding.(11) 665,380 sworn police officers and sheriffs are employed but affected by defunding, burnout and targeting.(12) Officers cite burnout even as cities begin re-funding police departments in the wake of crime escalation. The situation varies from city to city across the nation as a valuable national conversation has started. In the same timeframe the 200,000 military veterans transitioning to civilian life are seeking out a career path, something that comes easier to some than others.(13, 14) Veterans are consistently undervalued in the civilian workforce. Despite their unparalleled training, work ethic and team mentality, far too many struggle to secure meaningful employment: 61% are either unemployed or underemployed.(15) “Both of these groups are highly trained in firearms use and safety, have a passion for serving the public – and could be considered a great resource” suggests East.

 

Frank Garner, a veteran who served 15 years in the U.S. Army and has also been called upon to serve as armed security on various occasions, says that he has discussed this idea of protecting schools with several of his friends that are also veterans. Garner says that himself and many of his fellow vets would be willing to help protect nearby schools by acting as armed security, and some would even be willing to do it on a volunteer basis. And Garner can attest to the vacuum that leaving military service can create in the life of veterans: “It’s like going from an esteemed position to being downgraded, so even if they volunteered or got paid to [serve as armed security at schools], it would help fill that [void].”

 

Other Necessary Security Measures for School Safety

 

There should be a certification process for teachers that carry a concealed handgun, and since there are already successful programs like this implemented in the country, coming up with one won’t be hard. One such program is the FASTER Colorado Armed Teacher Training program.(16) 20 states now allow K-12 teachers and faculty to carry guns on campus in some capacity.(17) East says that certifications for teachers to carry concealed weapons should be conducted bi-annually, or at minimum annually, and experts can work out the details regarding qualifications and curriculum involved with this ongoing training.

 

And like the 9-11 protective measures, East says that further protective measures can be taken to prevent assailants from entering schools. This includes having only one entrance into the school, remove the ability for unauthorized individuals to walk through an unlocked door, and making sure there are enough emergency exits with alarm doors.

A Call to Action and to Arms for We the People

 

The only way that we can ensure these federal programs receive the funding they deserve, and that they create the most effective defensive security measures, is if we, as citizens, put pressure on lawmakers. As much as we wish we weren’t in this position, and our children didn’t have to be facing such horrific dangers and circumstances, this is our reality, and all we can do is respond accordingly.

 

As Wayne La Pierre executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) said not long after the Newtown shooting in 2013, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”(18) Is it possible that there will be armed “good guys” that could fail to act? Sure, but we can’t discount the equally valid possibility that, like in the 2019 church shooting in Texas, armed citizens could save countless lives.

 

East adds, “As Americans who respect both the constitution’s inalienable rights and its Second Amendment  – and are searching for solutions to protect our schools and the generations of future adults, Adams Arms stands firm in having citizens contact their local, state and national congressional representatives to encourage a federal program working in concert with state and local organizations to certify willing teachers to be armed, as well as utilizing a national resource by ensuring the hiring of armed resource officers in every school. In every community. In every state.”

 

  • Gal, Shayanne and Niemeyer, Kenneth. “The Robb Elementary School shooting is the US’s 27th school shooting so far this year.” Insider, 25 May 2022. insider.com/how-many-school-shootings-in-2022-so-far-table-map-2022-5
  • Connery, Chelsea. “The Prevalence and the Price of Police in Schools”; UCONN Neag School of Education; 27 October 2020; education.uconn.edu/2020/10/27/the-prevalence-and-the-price-of-police-in-schools/#
  • Ames, Blair. “Making Schools Safer for Students.” National Institute of Justice, Published 3 June 2019, Accessed 7 July 2022. nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/making-schools-safe-students
  • Gerace, Diane. “A Look at How Airport Security Has Evolved Post 9-11.” PHL, June 11 2021. phl.org/newsroom/911-security-impact
  • Pflum, Mary. “Guns and God: Growing number of churches want armed security.” NBC News, 27 Jan. 2019. nbcnews.com/news/us-news/guns-god-growing-number-churches-want-armed-security-n963031
  • Rantala, Victor. “Multiple armed church members stop Texas shooter in seconds; citizens thankful for chance to protect selves.” com, 30 Dec. 2019. bizpacreview.com/2019/12/30/multiple-armed-church-members-stop-texas-shooter-in-seconds-citizens-thankful-for-chance-to-protect-selves-869779/
  • Greene, Peter. “Three Reasons Arming Teachers is a Bad Idea”; Forbes; 31 May 2022; forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2022/05/31/three-reasons-arming-teachers-is-a-bad-idea/?sh=4d1840ad1419
  • King, Donna. “Why more states are arming teachers on campus.” The Carolina Journal, 8 June 2022. carolinajournal.com/why-more-states-are-arming-teachers-on-campus/
  • Krafft, Bruce W. “A Brief Look at the Origins and History of the Second Amendment.” The Truth About Guns, 13 Nov. 2012. thetruthaboutguns.com/a-brief-look-at-the-origins-and-history-of-the-second-amendment/
  • Byrne, Kerry J. “Amid new gun laws, here’s the true story behind the ‘Right to keep and to bear arms.’” Fox News, 25 June 2022. foxnews.com/lifestyle/gun-laws-story-right-keep-bear-arms
  • Mellen, Greg. “Why Law Enforcement is Facing Unprecedented Challenges in Hiring and Keeping Recruits”; Police1; 22 November 2021; police1.com/police-recruiting/articles/why-law-enforcement-is-facing-unprecedented-challenges-in-hiring-and-keeping-recruits-pFiTKCXrne6ccNfB/
  • Staff Writer. “Crime Fighting Has Taken Its Toll”; National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund; 2022; nleomf.org/memorial/facts-figures/law-enforcement-facts/
  • Staff Writer. “The Military to Civilian Transition 2018”; US Department of Veterans Affairs; 2018; benefits.va.gov/TRANSITION/docs/mct-report-2018.pdf
  • Staff Writer. “Separation & Transition”; Military One Source; US Department of Defense; 2022; militaryonesource.mil/military-life-cycle/separation-transition/
  • Jones, General James. “For Many Veterans, Finding a Job is the Greatest Battle of All”; New York Post; 21 May 2022. nypost.com/2022/05/21/for-veterans-finding-a-job-is-the-greatest-battle-of-all/
  • “FASTER Colorado – Armed Teacher Training.” org, 2022. i2i.org/faster-training/
  • King, Donna. “Why more states are arming teachers on campus.” The Carolina Journal, 8 June 2022. carolinajournal.com/why-more-states-are-arming-teachers-on-campus/
  • Kusnetz, Nicholas. “Inside a School Where Teachers Pack Heat.” Mother Jones, 16 Dec. 2013. com/politics/2013/12/schools-guns-armed-teachers-guards/
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