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Gun control is one of the biggest discussions currently taking place in American culture. In fact, it's become such a pervasive issue that it's reaching many different parts of our society, even become a hot button topic for those interested in school reform. The discussion over whether or not schools should arm teachers with guns has been an incredibly divisive issue, with people as notable as President Donald Trump even speaking out. As this article is being written, some lawmakers are even trying to push a bill through Florida legislation that would direct $67 million towards training staff at certain schools to use guns for protection purposes.

So, is putting guns in the hands of teachers really the right way to go?

Regardless of how you look at the issue, it's clear that since the original Columbine shooting in the 90s, school shootings have been an issue in the US that is gaining more and more traction by the day. However, it's important to note that the introduction of required training for certain staff members at educational facilities is not the right way to go.

Why is this? Well, first off, according to Alexis Underwood (a retired Marine), those in the armed forces are trained under the pretense that in a highly stressful or life-threatening situation, it's likely that they will forget everything they had learned up until that point. This results in mistakes and failures, making training those who have likely never held a gun before an inefficient use of money. Being able to use a firearm efficiently in an emergency takes much more experience than only being trained once and this should certainly be taken into account before hiring teachers to do just that.

Even if there are people at a school who understand how to hold firearms correctly, there isn't much proof suggesting that they will be successful in stopping a shooter in the event of a true emergency. This has been proven by various simulations, such as this video from ABC News that shows the difficulty in stopping somebody who has already begun shooting.

When looking at this argument, it's also important to understand how invested pro-gun organizations are to making sure the government is influenced by their decisions. For example, if the National Rifle Association is able to influence politicians in order to enforce training for a certain amount of teachers at schools, then any arguments that are for stricter gun regulation laws will be more difficult to pass. Of course, they don't influence politicians through proof or ideas (though there are politicians that do agree with the philosophy of the NRA), but rather through money. Thankfully, seeing which politicians are funded by the NRA is easily available, so you can take a look at who is being sponsored by the organization at any time via websites such as OpenSecrets.

Another aspect of gun violence that's important to analyze when talking about how to reduce gun-related deaths is to look at the statistics. Not only does the US have six times more gun deaths than Canada and nearly 16 times that of Germany, but it's also debatable that more guns will equal more deaths. This is important to consider because of how linked the two factors are, showing how arming teachers with guns doesn't necessarily stop people from having guns.

If we really want to take control of the school shooting situation, we should consider carefully the way in which we speak about these tragedies. For example, many people who see news coverage of a school shooting that uses the killer's face will often feel inspired to commit a shooting themselves. Though this is mainly related to people who are already going through the motions of considering violence against others, it's worth stating due to the way in which our media portrays mass killers in a very infamous light. Though we might think the connotation is negative, therefore undesirable, having any sort of attention is sometimes just the thing that school shooters want to have.

At the end of the day, the argument that teachers should be armed in schools has no relevant research to back it up. It is purely a hypothetical scenario, asserting that—if given the same weapons—someone with a gun who is a good person will do the right thing, so to speak. There is currently no scientific evidence to even show that this would be a likely possibility, with recent mass shootings such as the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27th, 2018 being an example in which there was an armed guard for the church that was unsuccessful against the shooter.

However, it should be noted that the best way to deal with school shootings is not simply to say that it isn't possible and end the discussion. In fact, this will cause more disagreement and possibly divide the country further. Instead, we should focus not on whether or not we should arm teachers, but instead what we can do to lessen the number and impact of school shootings in America.

Right now, there are many different options on the table that can make our schools safer for everyone. Imposing gun regulations is a great way to ensure that guns are not easily available while still giving those who want to have guns the ability to do so. Countries such as Japan have shown that this is an effective way of reducing the amount of gun deaths significantly, with the country almost eliminating them entirely through stricter regulations.

So, it's certainly possible to reduce school shootings in the US. However, the way in which we speak about it and target our efforts is important. Do people who want to arm teachers in classrooms care about reducing school shootings? Of course they do—nobody is against that. To actually instill change, though, we will have to look at how to actually solve the problem, using the data we have and real-life examples to return schools back to their previous glory as safe learning environments for students all around the country.

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