Support For Armed Teachers Comes From Unexpected Place: Science!

When we talk about armed teachers, anti-gun activists — and even some who are ostensibly pro-gun in most instances — roll their eyes at the notion. They argue that teachers have no business being armed and that they don’t need the added responsibility of a firearm. And those are just the ones being complimentary toward teachers.

Others have argued that teachers will start shooting minority students as soon as they get a chance, as if all teachers are really raging racists ready to start blasting away at people of color.

However, support for the notion comes from a surprising place.

The Chicago Tribune reported last month that armed teachers aren’t such a bad idea after all (emphasis mine).

When President Donald Trump suggested arming teachers would make schools safer, many educators recoiled.

As the first-month anniversary of a mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school is marked Wednesday, the debate has gone nationwide.

“If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could end the attack very quickly,” Trump said last month following a Feb. 14 shooting rampage that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

While some rolled their eyes, a graduate research project at Purdue University’s Homeland Security Institute bears out the President’s theory.

In 2014, Purdue students analyzed FBI active shooter data from past mass shootings and created a detailed computer simulation model that replicates a school assaulted by an active shooter. The study concluded that arming school personnel and locking doors can slow down a shooter and possibly prevent killings.

In their study, the Purdue students created four scenarios and ran them through the computer models that followed an active shooter in a school. It’s available at

They learned what could seem obvious: if a police officer or other armed school official confronts the shooter, fewer casualties are likely to occur. Dietz said the gun debate is so polarizing, his students sought to use science to inform people in the middle of the debate.

“What we found was profound,” said Dietz. He said a single resource officer “or even an armed teacher in a defensive position between attacker and students can reduce the number of victims by up to 70 percent.”

Dietz and his students have been presenting their findings at seminars across the country. They’re using models now to study stadiums and sporting events.


Of course, it bears out what we in the pro-gun rights community have been saying for some time, namely that an armed response results in fewer innocent casualties. This is what history has shown, and the Purdue model shows the same thing.

We’re not interested in arming all teachers, but if even a few were armed and coupled with someone like a school resource officer, then the odds change. Instead of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, you get Great Mills High School. While we would all prefer that neither happens, that’s just not a realistic hope.

So instead, let’s allow teachers with valid concealed carry permits to carry their firearms on school campuses, if they so choose. This is something that we can see from both historical data and computer modeling works, so why is there so much resistance from people who say it’s all about saving lives?

Hat tip: Active Response Training.