With school shootings making headline news across the country, a rising movement across the United States is to arm teachers to protect students is making headlines. Not surprisingly, there are strong emotions both for and against allowing teachers to carry firearms in schools.
California law prohibits the possession of concealed firearms on campus with a few exceptions. In 2015, the California Legislature passed SB 707, which recognized exceptions, such as persons who have the written permission of specified school district officials or for certain retired reserve peace officers who are authorized to carry a concealed or loaded firearm.
For years, several districts in California have allowed teachers and staff to carry concealed firearms on their school’s grounds. Since 2010, Folsom Cordova Unified School District in Sacramento County has allowed staff to carry weapons on school campuses, however they must be stored in a specified location. In response to the San Bernardino shooting in 2016, Kingsburg Joint Union High School District in Fresno County voted to allow no more than five people to carry concealed weapons on their person to address “immediate” threats. Anderson Union High School District in Shasta County also allows employees to carry weapons at schools.
Campaigns and citizens across America are protesting policies such as these, with just as many supporting it. The National Educators Association President, Lily Eskelsen García, quickly announced her opposition to arming teachers. She stated in her official comment, “We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators. Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that.” The California Teachers Association and many of its members expressed their opposition to guns on schools online as well:
CTA member Tonya McQuade of @lgshsdta shares a poem: What a #Teacher Needs (Hint: It’s NOT a Gun!) https://t.co/Py88oDwzT3 #ArmMeWith #NeverAgain
— California Teachers Association (@WeAreCTA) February 28, 2018
However, supporters of arming teachers cite an Illinois teacher who shot an armed student threatening the school. President Donald Trump suggested teachers should have guns in the classroom since the teacher could “[shoot] and that would be the end of it.”
California is just one of over two dozen states that allow teachers and staff to bring firearms on campus with the topic becoming more widespread across the nation, likely more school districts will have to decide if they should allow firearms on their campuses as well.