Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, The University of Texas and Sandy Hook Elementary all have one thing in common—each of these institutions has been the victim of deadly school shootings.
Following the raw horror of these massacres, the inevitable topic of gun control rears its controversial head all over the nation. When all the propaganda and political nonsense is discarded, the arguments always end with two completely opposing options. Should new laws place restrictions on assault weapons to limit the chance of repeat school shootings, but limit the rights of innocent gun-users in the process? Or should we loosen gun control laws to allow teachers to protect their students from these shooters, while running the risk of handing weapons to people unfamiliar with their uses?
Becoming the first state to pass a bill regarding educators possessing weapons in the classroom, the legislature of South Dakota has decided on the latter. Friday, March 8, Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed the bill allowing South Dakota teachers to carry guns in school after receiving the necessary concealed weapons license.
Naturally, no two people hold the same opinion when it comes to gun control, which means the new law is being met with its fair share of praise, as well as criticism.
The passing of this bill is a monumental step for South Dakota, and I support it for various reasons.
First and foremost, this decision was made with the best interests of our state’s students in mind. Its purpose is to give teachers an opportunity to protect their students, should a shooting ever occur. Rather than remaining utterly helpless in the case of a school shooting, S.D. teachers now have the ability to fight back for not only their own lives, but for the lives of countless innocent children as well.
Of course no one but the shooter is to blame for each of the horrific massacres listed above; however, the outcome may have been far less severe had one educator possessed a weapon to stop the gunman.
I realize that even though teachers possessing guns is a great step towards the safety of schools, it is not a “cure-all” answer to the threat of school shootings.
In the instance of a massacre, many teachers might not possess the mental or physical strength and ability to target the gunman and shoot him or her down. Additionally, the public needs to realize this bill does not force guns into the hands of any educators. It is a “take-it-or-leave-it” bill each school district has the right to decide on.
Those against this new law may say South Dakota is putting guns in the hands of those who don’t know how to use them; but again, teachers are not being forced to carry weapons at school. This decision has simply made it a legal option—an option many educators might want to take advantage of if they are comfortable with it. There is an overwhelming amount of teachers who saw the events of Newtown, CT, and realized that if placed in that situation, they would want a form of protection for themselves, and for their classrooms.
As for those concerned with teachers turning the guns on their children, they need to face the facts that this bill does not make that disaster any more probable than before. If a teacher decided to shoot their students, they could easily smuggle in a gun and do it. It is an extremely chilling thought, but it shows this bill is not promoting violence in any way.
Teachers toting guns around schools are not thinking about harming their students in any way. Rather, they are thinking about their protection.
In the end, someone set on executing a school shooting will do it, regardless of the laws set in place, regardless of the restrictions on guns. In turn, equipping teachers with the necessary tools to counteract these events is extremely proactive, and a step in the right direction.
South Dakota has really set the precedent with this bill, and we may encourage other states to follow our footsteps.