With an increase in school violence, many teachers and administrators are wishing to exercise their second amendment right to conceal carry on the school property. Concealed carry will allow the school staff to be able to protect themselves and their students in the event of an act of violence. Not only do teachers and staff hope it would be an important way to protect their students but also may act as a deterrent to school violence in general if the assailants are aware that staff members may be potentially armed.
Teachers Right to Carry is Not Only for Large Cities
While most would assume that it is larger cities where teachers are exercising their right to carry due to higher incidents of violence per year, smaller schools in more rural towns are following suit for a much more different reason. A small town in Oklahoma has replaced their “gun free school zone” signs with signs that say their staff “may use force when necessary to protect our students.”
Even though the small town has had no particular past incidents to evoke the change, they claim that the overall climate in the United States has caused them to consider it. They also have a challenge as a small town since there is only one local law enforcement office and it would take at least ten minutes to arrive in the event of an incident. Any backup from additional cities would take even longer.
The school addressed all voiced concerns, such as being identified as being armed and accidental discharge, by requiring name brand guns, limiting the size of ammunition, and requiring carrying teachers to wear badges identifying them as armed so that police can readily identify them. The State of Oklahoma is just one of 20 states that now allow their teachers some right to concealed carry and many states are addressing similar issues as well.
The Confusion of “Gun Free School Zones” in Right to Carry States
While the legislation may be clear for the 20 states that have laws that specifically allow teachers to concealed carry on campus, there are many states that have concealed carry laws and “gun free” school zones, where the line is blurred, and law-abiding citizens are at risk of accidentally violating the law. Teachers, staff, and parents in Michigan with a concealed carry permit have the right to carry their weapon but must revert to open carry even though they have a permit to carry concealed. There are also laws allowing arms to be secured in vehicles in parking lot areas.
While the above Michigan laws may make the carry law seem easy there are additional laws that cause complications. State law MCL 750.237a makes it a misdemeanor to carry a weapon anywhere in a weapon-free zone except by security guard and staff with a CPL that has been approved by the administration. These conflicting laws make Michigan’s ability to open carry in schools more complicated than the initial law seems.
Will Teachers Right to Carry Continue to Be Supported in the Other States
With many states supporting the right to carry for teachers, there is also legislation growing to restrict educators and staff’s right to carry by pushing what is being called, “true gun-free zone” laws for school. This legislation would prevent anyone from carrying a weapon into a school even if they were licensed or approved by the school or state. If states continue to push for schools to be completely gun-free, they will be in essence simply making them defense free zones.
As citizens of the United States, teachers and school staff have the right to protect and defend themselves and those who are in their charge. As stated by Kentucky U.S. Representative Thomas Massie, who is in support of repealing federal gun-free zone laws “gun-free school zones are ineffective. They make people less safe by inviting criminals into target-rich, no-risk environments.” “Gun-free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, and create vulnerable populations that are targeted by criminals.”
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that would be criminals would abide by the new zone requirements which will continue to leave students, staff, and administrators defenseless from violence.
~ American Gun News