By: Teresa Mull
A team investigating the Parkland, Florida school shooting is recommending teachers carry guns.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission voted 13-1 to recommend the Legislature allow the arming of teachers, saying it’s not enough to have one or two police officers or armed guards on campus. Florida law adopted after the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 dead allows districts to arm non-teaching staff members such as principals, librarians and custodians — 13 of the 67 districts do, mostly in rural parts of the state.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the commission’s chairman, pushed the measure at the Tallahassee meeting. He said most deaths in school shootings happen within the first few minutes, before officers on and off campus can respond. He said suspect Nikolas Cruz stopped to reload his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle five times, all of which would have been opportunities for an armed teacher to shoot him.
“We have to give people a fighting chance, we have to give them an opportunity to protect themselves,” Gualtieri said. “One good guy with a gun on campus is not enough.”
“The 15-member commission, which has been meeting periodically since April, will present a report to Gov. Rick Scott, incoming Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature by Jan. 1,” Fox reports.
Stopping School Shooters
Gunpowder Magazine reported earlier this year of several instances in which armed heroes prevented carnage from happening at schools. GPM’s Robert Davis reported in May 2018:
The shooting at Santa Fe Independent School District High School would have been much worse had it not been for the heroic actions of Officer John Barnes.
Unlike the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who waited outside the school while Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students, Barnes, a school police officer, and another Texas Department of Safety officer confronted the shooter inside the school. The officers engaged in a standoff with the suspect, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who then surrendered.
GPM likewise reported in May 2018:
An armed school resource officer (SRO) wounded a school shooter this morning in Illinois, stopping the suspect from hurting anyone at the school.
The suspect, 19-year-old Mark Milby, reportedly opened fire in a gym full of seniors practicing for graduation at Dixon High School. Milby ran, and SRO Mark Dallas chased and confronted him. Milby fired at Dallas, and Dallas fired back, hitting Milby in the shoulder.
And in March 2018, GPM reported:
An armed resource officer exchanged shots with a gunman firing on students at a Maryland high school yesterday. The incident lasted about a minute, according to the local county sheriff. The gunman has been the only person to die from the shooting, so far.
An FBI report released in May 2018 concluded armed citizens are crucial to stopping active shooters.
“The enhanced threat posed by active shooters and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold support the importance of preparation by law enforcement officers and citizens alike,” the report stated.
According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, the FBI’s report “missed at least half the cases” of citizens with concealed handguns stopping mass shootings.
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at [email protected].