Wisconsin school district calls on state to allow armed staff on campus

(Richard Alan Hannon/The Advocate via AP)

School board members in Germantown, Wisconsin are on board with having trained and vetted volunteer staff members carrying firearms to serve as a first line of defense for students in case of a targeted attack on a local school, but they can’t move forward unless the state legislature changes existing law. That’s the impetus behind the board’s recent resolution calling on the state to amend existing concealed carry laws to remove the prohibition against carrying on school grounds, and the state representative for the area says he plans on introducing those changes himself.


State Rep. Dan Knodl (R-Germantown) said he will take the lead on advancing the board’s proposed safety measures. Firearm training for staff would be completely voluntary, Knodl said, and those who want to carry will be vetted by the district.

Gun-free school zones do not work, Knodl said.

“I still have a difficult time convincing people that bad guys don’t obey the law,” Knodl said. “We can pass a lot of bills; we can even get them signed into law by the governor. But bad guys don’t follow the law.”

Yeah, the idea that a committed killer is going to turn around and walk away from a school because it’s posted as a “gun-free zone” is more than a little ridiculous. But that’s also not the only argument that gun control activists are making when it comes to preventing school districts from establishing their own security plans that involve the use of armed staff members.

Allison Anderman, the senior counsel and director of local policy for Giffords Law Center, a national organization formed to combat gun violence, said Germantown’s resolution poses a threat to children of color at school.

“As we know from data on police violence, Black and brown people are often viewed as a greater threat than white people, and Black and brown children and teens are more likely to be targeted by school security,” she said.

During a school shooting, it’s not safe for multiple people to be armed because the wrong person could be hurt solely based on what they look like, Anderman said.

“It is a myth pushed by gun extremists and the gun industry that a person with a gun is likely to stop a mass shooter,” Anderman said.

Is it? Maybe we can ask that mythical man Elisjsha Dicken about the myth that armed citizens can stop mass shootings if they have the means to do so.
I’m also puzzled by Anderman’s argument that having an armed response to an active shooter is a bad thing because the “wrong person could be hurt.” What exactly does she think is going to happen while unarmed staff and the students in their care are forced to wait for minutes (or perhaps even more than an hour, as we saw in Uvalde) before police engage the attacker?
As for Anderman’s assertion that having armed school staff poses a threat to non-Caucasian students, can she point to a single incident in any of the hundreds of school districts around the country where these policies are already in place? She cannot, because there simply aren’t the kinds of issues that she describes.
There are plenty of school districts in states that allow for armed school staff that have chosen to either stick solely to school resource officers or to rely on local law enforcement to respond to any crimes on campus, and it’s their decision to do so. But if school districts like Germantown decide they want the peace of mind that comes with knowing there will be an immediate response to an active shooter in one of their school buildings, they should also have the authority to seek out those staffers who are willing to volunteer to serve as that first line of defense. Gun control groups like Giffords are working hard to take that option away from school districts; “protecting” our kids by ensuring there will not be a quick response or immediate engagement of any killer on campus. They can call it “commonsense” all they way, but to me it looks a lot more like lunacy.

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