In the small town of Keene, Texas, the school board has voted 6-1 to allow certain teachers and staff to carry handguns during the workday. The new rule, voted into place on December 16, is expected to go into effect in the early months of 2016. Because Keene is such a small town with a vibrant population of pro-gun enthusiasts, the rule is unlikely to be as controversial as it might have been in a larger, urban area. Still, it marks one of the first steps toward the elimination of “gun-free zones” on school grounds, which could make it a crucial test for national gun rights.
What’s remarkable about the decision is that it was championed by Keene superintendent Ricky Stephens, who has long opposed the thought of arming educators. “That old mentality of ‘it can’t happen here’ has started to leave a lot of small towns,” Stephens told a local news station.
The new policy will allow a select handful of staff members to carry guns. In fact, not only will the staff be allowed to carry handguns, they will be provided these guns by the district. The individuals will go through handgun training classes to procure a concealed carry license, and after that they will be required to complete another 80 hours of training throughout the year.
Not everyone, naturally, is jumping for joy about the concept. “It’s tough,” one parent said. “I mean, it’s scary just thinking about guns in school period. I don’t think there should be guns in school at all.”
Indeed, it is this parent’s thinking that will make this a difficult proposal to sell on a national basis. Because who can disagree with him? No one thinks there should be guns in school! And if we could snap our fingers tomorrow and ensure that no guns ever found their way inside a school, even the most virulent Second Amendment supporter would do so.
Unfortunately, no such magic exists. And just putting up a sign that says “no guns allowed” is not preventing psychos and angry teenagers from killing as many students as they wish. Whether or not armed teachers would have made a difference in these cases is up for debate. What’s not up for debate is that declaring them gun-free zones did the nothing to keep students safe. These schools were also murder-free zones, by all accounts. If someone is far gone enough to consider killing innocent classmates, they aren’t going to let a gun ban stop them. Another gun, on the other hand, might just stop them whether they like it or not.