The term “school shooting” covers a lot of real estate. Depending on who is keeping count, it could be anything from a stray bullet hitting a school in the wee hours of the morning or something that makes Uvalde look like a fond memory.
Regardless, if a student’s life is in danger, armed teachers might well make the difference between a traumatic experience and a funeral.
While anti-gunners loathe the idea of a teacher carrying a gun, Utah has has them for a good while now without incident.
The problem is that there are reasons some teachers may not want to carry a firearm, despite being those who could benefit from doing so. That means a lot of places are trying to find a way to encourage them. Not all of those ideas are great.
But a Utah lawmaker is considering a method that might solve some issues.
One of the bills Utah lawmakers may get a chance to vote on this session would provide incentives for teachers and other staffers willing to carry a firearm in school.
Rep. Tim Jimenez is working on HB119, which he said emphasizes training for teachers and other staffers who want to carry a gun while in school.
“We have a lot of teachers that carry anyway. Why not get them the training they deserve so they can feel more confident and feel like they can actually perform to a higher level?” Jimenez said.
The bill would provide three things for teachers and other staffers willing to carry a firearm in school: legal protection, training and storage funding.
Legal protection for teachers using guns at school in Utah
Jimenez said using a gun could open a teacher up to legal liability, even if they’re only using it to protect themselves or their students. Jimenez said that legal protection is necessary to help the teacher or staffer focus should there ever be a reason for them to use their gun.
“If you have to use your firearm defensively, we want to make sure that you’re not pulling it out and the only thing you’re thinking about is a bunch of lawyers and a bunch of legal issues, but that you can focus on defending the children during that time.”
The bill would give them better peace of mind that they can act accordingly, without worrying about possible legal liabilities, he said.
On training, Jimenez argued that the training needs to be tailored in such a way that teachers are being taught to defend their specific classrooms, rather than the entire school. If there’s a pitfall to current training programs for armed teachers, it’s in that they’re training them to essentially respond anywhere in the school to any of a thousand different scenarios.
That can discourage manage teachers who might opt to carry a gun to defend themselves and their classrooms, but don’t feel like they’re up to rushing all over the school to deal with various situations.
Finally, the issue of storage.
The bill would provide teachers with $500 to buy a biometric safe. While the article doesn’t specify, I’m assuming this would be for storing the gun while at school. I have issues with mandating biometrics for most things, I get why it’s specified here.
You don’t want a kid being able to gain access to the safe, after all, and you’re never going to guess the combination to a safe locked by a fingerprint.
All of these seek permit armed teachers to function without having to worry about a lot of other things besides, basically, protecting themselves and their students.
Now, I don’t know that there’s an actual shortage of armed teachers in Utah or anywhere else that permits them, but I do know that armed teachers aren’t likely to show up in the victim list of a mass shooting. Their students likely won’t, either.
Providing some common sense protections for them is an easy fix. It should be interesting to see how this plays out in pro-gun Utah.