Teachers with guns? Here’s what MCHS thinks

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“Non-Violence,” a tribute to John Lennon standing for peace.

We’re only eight months into 2018, and there have already been 57 incidents of school shootings resulting in 43 people killed and 82 injured. This is nearing the 2017 national record of 65 school gun incidents, and there are still four months left in the year. Parents and teachers alike have lost many children to these tragedies, leading to increased tensions, rage, and protests demanding justice. In the wake of these events, the question has been raised as to whether teachers should carry guns in their classrooms to protect their students. The Spellbinder posed this question to teachers at Middle College.

 

Donald Trump addressing how guns on campuses would prevent school shootings.

The first teacher interviewed at MCHS was Mr. Ramos. He had a clear perspective on the issue. He started off by saying how, in the United States, “There’s a huge lack of gun control.” Mr. Ramos believes that the issue lies with the type of weapons one is able to get. “Why would somebody need an assault rifle at their house?” said Mr. Ramos. An assault rifle is a weapon of war, so it doesn’t make sense why a civilian is simply able to buy it and take that gun back home, according to Ramos.

Mr. Ramos believes that guns and safety are the responsibility of police officers and not teachers. He also thinks that the government should be doing something more to bring awareness to this issue than just sending the police when it’s already too late. Although Mr. Ramos believes that teachers carrying guns in school is “a ridiculous idea,” he would not be opposed to training, although he would initially vote against it. His only condition would be that the teachers are well trained and that weapons remain on campus. “I’ve never come to school and worried if there would be a school shooting,” said Mr. Ramos, optimistic that our school will not get to the point where guns have to be implemented as a safety precaution.

Teacher Mr. Valenzuela had contrasting views on the situation. Valenzuela believes that the current gun control measures in place are “perfectly fine.” When asked what he thinks about having teachers carry guns in school, Valenzuela said that he doesn’t see a problem with it, as long as the teachers are trained properly. To support his views, Valenzuela brought up the fact that the time it takes police to respond to school shootings is longer than the school shootings last, and by then it’s too late. This is in direct contrast to Ramos’s view that it is the job of the police to stop shootings. He went on to cite an example of a girl who was recently shot and killed claiming, “if she had a gun, she would still be here today.” When asked if he would go through training to carry a gun on campus, he responded, “Probably, 80% yes.” Although, according to Valenzuela, the chances of a school shooting happening on our campus are statistically improbable and we “have a better chance of getting hit by a car.” He believes that it would be beneficial to have guns on campus. “I’d probably run towards a shooting; especially if I had a gun,” Valenzuela said.

Donald Trump explaining how police can’t effectively respond to school shootings.

Principal Mr. Voight had strong opinions on the issue but was clear that he meant no disrespect for those who disagree: “Everyone is allowed an opinion. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with it, but it does mean I have to respect it.” Mr. Voight believes that training staff to use guns on campus is both unnecessary and wrong and thinks something should be done about guns. “Obviously, when children are dying, we can’t say that they’re (gun laws) doing what we want them to do. Now, whether [they’re] stronger or different, in my opinion, I believe different regulations have to be passed because what they’re doing isn’t working.”

Voight feels as though putting weapons on campus will cause more harm than good because, as he said, “Even in the hands of a good person, a gun can do bad things because they go off accidentally. Putting guns on campus, whether in the hands of students, teachers, or other people, means more guns and more chances of it being used.