While Texas is considering increasing the number of armed teachers, Giffords is going in a different direction. Shocking, I know. Shocking, I know, but the organization seems to think guns are bad. Go figure.
This time, the anti-gun group has tallied up the number of reports it’s found of teachers or school staff members “leaving” a gun somewhere. Of course, Giffords also freaks over the results.
Left in the bathroom, tucked in a bag, forgotten in a school van — guns belonging to teachers or school officers have been left out or accessible to students in America at least 60 times in the last five years, a study has found.
There were no accidental deaths, but some people were injured, according to the report released last week by the gun-control group Giffords. Using news reports, the group tallied the number of times a gun was left out, accidentally shot, or mishandled during a disciplinary episode or stressful situation. Most incidents ended without any shots fired.
So, this happened 60 times in the last five years.
That’s to say, out of the thousands and thousands of schools in this country and the 3.6 million teachers in this country (and that’s just teachers, not other staff), it happens a dozen times per year. That has the statistical significance of…nothing. Without doing the math, that suggests the odds of it happening are only slightly greater than being struck by lightning.
To make matters worse, Giffords is also using a rather broad definition of not just what constitutes “left” but also who is considered for the study.
Three of the incidents cataloged were in Pennsylvania. At the Russell Byers Charter School in Center City, a middle-school student bumped into a staffer’s bag during a class last year and realized it contained a gun. The staffer was suspended. At a Washington County high school, a student found a loaded gun that a security guard had left in the bathroom. In Chambersburg, Franklin County, a group of elementary school students found a teacher’s loaded gun on top of a toilet.
The staffer’s bag contained a gun. I’m sure the staffer in question said they’d forgotten it was in there–people excuse mistakes more than defiance, after all–but is this a staffer who would have been carrying against the rules if there was a way they could have done so within the regulations? If so, would that have still been counted?
Additionally, using a security guard is ridiculous. After all, no one has suggested disarming school security, now have they?
That matters. The only reason Giffords did such a study was to try and counter the argument that teachers and staff should be armed. It wants to paint a picture that teachers are too irresponsible to be trusted with guns on campuses.
However, Giffords accomplished no such thing.
For one, the number of incidents per year is statistically insignificant. It’s not a thing.
For another, there’s no context to frame this number to change that. For example, if there were 100 teachers carrying guns in schools, but 12 were negligent each year, that would be cause for concern. If that number is a million teachers carrying, then 12 doesn’t even rise to the level of statistical noise.
But Giffords doesn’t want you to think about that. It wants you to freak out and be terrified of armed teachers leaving a gun lying around carelessly.
Folks, it’s not a thing. Don’t sweat it.