On the same day that Florida House lawmakers’ committee voted to arm some teachers, a Georgia social studies teacher was arrested for bringing a gun to school, firing it, barricading himself and causing students to run to avoid being stuck and possibly killed. According to Dalton, Georgia police, the teacher, Randall Davidson will face charges of aggravated assault, carrying a weapon on school grounds, terroristic threats, reckless conduct, possession of gun during commission of a crime, and disrupting a public school. Following the Parkland, Florida school shooting that killed 17 persons, Donald Trump proposed that teachers should be provided with incentives to be armed with guns in the classroom.
A Florida House committee responded to the Parkland school shootings by approving a bill that would raise the minimum age to buy any gun, require a three-day waiting period for rifle purchases and create a program that could allow some teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom. Davidson had a concealed weapon and improperly used it.
Davidson points to one reason why teachers should not be armed. There are many reasons for this policy to never reach the light of day. Arming teachers will not solve the gun violence issue in schools. It will only exasperate it. Teachers are taught and paid to teach students. They are not taught or trained to possibly shoot to kill their own students. They are not trained to be SWAT police or law enforcement. And even with trained law enforcement, they often get it wrong and kill innocent persons—as the shootings of many unarmed Blacks prove.
The Trump administration, GOP lawmakers and Florida lawmakers, many who get financial support from the NRA, refuse to ban assault rifles and associated ammunition. Assault weapons are the elephant in the room. Everyone can see the elephant but no one wants to acknowledge its presence. Short term fixes are like band aids to fix a person bleeding from a fatal gun wound. Until lawmakers begin by banning assault weapons and assorted ammunition, many persons will continue to bleed and die from being shot with assault weapons.
The shooter in the Parkland, Florida school shooting had 150 rounds of ammunition remaining before he chose to leave and walk out of the school. He could have killed many more persons than the 14 students and three teachers. If he had not been able to purchase the guns, the incident wouldn’t have happened. Raising the age to buy guns is a limited fix. A killer like Nikolas Cruz can just wait three more years until he reaches the age requirement to buy a killing machine. That fix is a temporary one.
Banning assault weapons and related ammunition is the one law that will effectively prevent the type of shootings that occurred in Parkland, Florida, Newtown, Connecticut, Charleston, SC, Aurora, Colorado, Las Vegas, Nevada, Columbine and many other locations. In November, 2017, the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to Maryland’s 2013 state ban on assault weapons. The 4th Circuit federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia ruled that assault weapons are not protected by the second amendment, as they are weapons of war and not for self-defense. While banning assault weapons will not cure all that ails this county in terms of gun violence, it is a good start to end mass killings in churches, schools, movie theaters, concerts, shopping centers and everywhere we congregate in crowds.
There is no legal reason preventing us from banning assault weapons of mass destruction—except for our cowardly lawmakers. And if lawmakers won’t vote to ban assault weapons, it’s time to vote these lawmakers out.
Update: Tweet From a student at Dalton High School on arming teachers.
@nra my favorite teacher at Dalton high school just blockaded his door and proceeded to shoot. We had to run out The back of the school in the rain. Students were being trampled and screaming. I dare you to tell me arming teachers will make us safe.
Washington, DC Debbie Hines is a trial lawyer, legal analyst and former prosecutor. She is an outspoken gun control advocate.