Education News

Lawmakers in these 6 states are pushing to arm teachers

By Amanda Litvinov / Photo: Young activists at the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C., March 24, 2018.

Columbine. Newtown. Parkland. These are some of the first places that come to mind when the topic is school shootings.

But every state in the union has had at least one incident of school gun violence since 1970, according to federal data. Most have had dozens. California and Texas have suffered well over 100.

Last year stands alone as the worst on record. Ninety-four incidents of school gun violence were documented, an increase of nearly 60 percent over the previous record high in 2016.

Sadly, some state lawmakers have spent this year’s legislative sessions trying to put more guns in schools. Most of their proposals involve arming teachers and other school staff (or increasing that number in states that already allow educators to carry guns).

Research indicates that arming teachers actually makes students less safe.

Putting more firearms in schools increases the possibility that a troubled student could get their hands on a gun as well as the likelihood of accidental shootings. It also takes funding and focus away from strategies proven to make schools safer, such as:

  • adding school counselors and school psychologists;
  • banning assault weapons;
  • and requiring universal background checks for all gun purchases.

President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have backed the idea of arming educators. DeVos wants to use federal grant money intended for academics and enrichment to purchase firearms for teachers, even though the idea is widely rejected by educators.

A March 2018 Gallup poll found that 73 percent of U.S. teachers do NOT want to carry guns in school.

Here are the states where some lawmakers are still pushing to arm teachers:


The Florida Senate passed a bill this week that would allow any teacher who undergoes training to carry firearms into the classroom.

The Florida Education Association opposes arming teachers. Instead, they advocate adding mental health staff in schools.

A group of about 150 students from the March for Our Lives movement protested the bill at the statehouse. The group was founded by students who survived the horrific 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last February.


Missouri’s HB 575 includes a controversial—and frightening—amendment that legalizes concealed carry on college campuses. That means any student, staff member, or visitor with the right permit could walk around campus with a loaded gun. As written, the bill also forbids state colleges from creating their own policies to prohibit guns.

At a hearing on April 18, one person spoke in favor of the bill and 16 spoke out against it, including university students and faculty. The Missouri Education Association opposes the measure. Regardless, the House passed the bill and sent it to the Senate.


Earlier this month, the Montana legislature passed several bills that would result in more guns in schools. HB 567 allows any school employee to become a “school marshal,” which authorizes them to carry a gun on school grounds.

Lawmakers also approved a pair of bills that remove local authority to prohibit the concealed carry of firearms in public places, including schools. Only one of those bills could be vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock; the other, a legislative referendum, puts the item on the ballot in November 2020. The Montana Federation of Public Employees President (MFPE), which represents the state’s teachers and other public employees, opposes those bills.

Related: MFPE President Eric Feaver gave passionate testimony against another measure, SB 304, which would allow legislators to carry concealed weapons in the statehouse.


A pair of bills could bring disturbing changes to North Carolina schools. HB 216 would allow school staff to carry concealed handguns in schools. SB 192 adds an incentive. That measure offers a 5 percent salary increase to teachers who undergo law enforcement training so they can serve both as educators and as sworn law enforcement officers.

The North Carolina Association of Educators has been outspoken in its opposition. “We’re currently ranked 50th in the country in addressing the psychological needs of our students,”  said NCAE President Mark Jewell. “We don’t need guns. We need more nurses, more counselors, more school psychologists.”


Oklahoma allows educators to have guns in school only if they have completed armed guard or reserve peace officer training. But HB 2336, an expansion bill, would allow any school employee with a concealed carry permit to walk the halls with a loaded gun.

The Oklahoma Education Association opposes the bill. “What we need are counselors in our schools,” OEA President Alicia Priest told KOCO News. “What we need is mental health access. It would save more lives to fund our schools by allowing us the funding we need to hire counselors.”


Texas law already permits some school staff to carry guns. Now, the Texas Senate has approved a bill that would lift the requirement that school marshals keep firearms under lock and key. Another bill eliminates the cap on the number of marshals permitted on a school campus.

The Texas State Teachers Association opposes the expansion and says lawmakers should instead focus on improving school funding and mental health services.

Last May, eight Texas students and two educators were killed and 13 others were injured when a student opened fire at Santa Fe High School. It was only the second deadliest school shooting of 2018. Just three months earlier, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School resulted in 17 deaths and 17 injuries.

What you can do:

  • Learn more about what works to prevent gun violence in schools. Then ask those who represent you in Congress to sign onto a resolution NOT to use federal funds to arm educators.
  • Connect with Everytown for Gun Safety to fight for common sense laws that save lives.

26 responses to “Lawmakers in these 6 states are pushing to arm teachers

  1. We are going back to the Wild West. Gun sales are going through the roof, skyrocketing, shootin’ for the moon! Evil has a big upper hand, it takes a lot to make a building and only a couple of seconds to blow it up, a la fertilizer style. If I had to carry a gun as a teacher, I’d quit. Any negative thing can go south real quick, like, Compton style.

    1. I oppose teachers carrying gun in school especially carried weapons. Schools are becoming more like prison than teaching facilities. Schools need to back down and become places all of them want to be enjoy being and learn at. That should include all of them. No child should be beat banged or bullied in a school by any teachers or person at all. Teachers should be more worried about students being able to be constructive and happy and wanting to be there than coercing or forcing them to be there so they can get a pay check and retirement and benefits. Schools are turning into prisons more and more. The students that do well in them and are praised a lot might not think so but as with our economics in this country and the wealth gap it’s just the few that do really well those are the elites. There are many many more falling behind. And I was trying to fill out a survey from NRA about guns and was switched off in the middle by some hacker who. I don’t think guns belong in schools that’s where the prisons have them and for wars not places for children. Teachers shouldn’t need them there is something wrong with that picture when they do it needs to be fixed. Children should not be prisoners and protection is going way to far when you have to kill their parents. Guns kill people and animals that’s what they are used for not protection for killing. And your worried about mass murders this is the gun mentality now why worry just kill them first. No put the guns down and stop the psychiatric drugs that get people out of their minds make them crazy.

  2. I think that we don’t need stricter gun laws because even if we did, criminals or some people can get guns through illegal means. And with those laws the ones that has training to use them won’t be able to prevent the shooting or just to make sure no other casualties that is happening near their neighborhood or just near them.

    For teachers who wants to bear firearms at school, well I think that they can choose if they want to or not. I don’t mind having a teacher bearing firearms. As long as they have an extensive training for law enforcement. I just think that if the people who wants to do harm, they would rather do it to a place that most likely won’t have an armed personal. Most of the shooting this past years have been in the ones that are likely to be vulnerable. But that’s just my opinion.

  3. If you think there is a teaher shortage now, just wait if these laws are passed. I hate that people who are NOT professional educators think the know what is best for professional educators. What if Doctors or Attorneys had to take advice from teachers. Makes me sick!

    1. Amen! Betsy de Voss ,trump have always gone to private schools they hv no interest in public education ! Enough said! I hv always gone to public schools @ have my 3 degrees s from public institutions , and taught in public institutions !

    2. Agreed, Lee!

      I’m an educator; I have colleagues who DO NOT NEED to bear ANY kind of weapons on an academic campus!
      Let’s work to stop the issues leading to school violence, not harbor a new way of ‘vigilantism’.

      Guns in school is a “NIGHTMARE IN THE WORKS”.

  4. There is NO good way for a teacher to carry a gun…Seriously. Women in particular who make up the majority of teachers would do what? Wear it on a holster? Carry her purse all day long? Seriously?..Be forced to wear pants so she can attach a gun to her leg?
    Come on…
    The logical place for said gun were it to be brought to class by the teacher would be to lock it in the file cabinet. Hmm. In a shooter incident, how quickly could that teacher access the gun? Put it in the desk drawer? locked? unlocked? Hey why not wear a holster?
    SERIOUSLY…This is really the dumbest solution ever.
    That also presumes teacher training in use of guns…What if , like myself, you couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn no matter what? I know this because my kid’s cub scout leader thought all the moms at camp needed to engage in the shooting range just like he was.

    We have had public schools for two centuries. This gun-in-school thing has grown to ridiculous proportions…and please don’t tell me keeping an office of the law is a good idea too. They don’t really have a whole lot to do …but you’d be amazed at how they can really miss the target when it comes to getting along with all students. They end up patrolling parking lots at high schools and “ticketing” kids who park next to the closest door when said student is late for class. They spend their time writing up kids who split for lunch off campus…Policing is really not a thing schools need…and I can tell you nothing scares me more than giving these guys ( county deputies at best) free rein and guns on campus.
    The problem is increased proportionately by the p.r. received and reported…and again I point out, how poorly the local gendarmes are trained and how they view their role.
    I have never talked to a teacher who thinks teachers need to carry a weapon. AND I am sure having local yokels from the town is definitely NOT a good idea. They are too likely to have only a modicum of training and sense.
    PLEASE disagree with Betsy…(who btw knows absolutely nothing about schools.esp public schools having never attended one or possibly never been in one until she was appointed to the least likely job…unless the plan was to make all public schools into Amway affiliates.)

    1. It sounds like the NRA has Trump and DeVos along with state legislators in their pockets. There is no place in schools for guns. There is no reason for college campuses to allow weapons. Yesterday’s shooting at a Synagogue in my community is a sad reminder of the harm that Hate and Fear Mongering has caused. A nineteen year old has ruined his life and the lives of so many others, but the gun sellers don’t care. It is despicable what is being promoted as “safety”. Wake up America!

      1. It’s called the 2nd amendment, constitutional right. Did you ever stop and think why these shootings are happening? Guns have been in our society forever but school shootings are the last 20 years are so. Maybe it is because God and discipline have vanished from our society.

        1. Yes but it’s not because of god but the fact that society has made it apparent schools have only unarmed victims.

      2. This has been going on since long, long before Trump and the NRA teaches gun safety.

        Your placing of blame is nonsense. This was talked about in 2011 and was being used in 2013. Guess who was president then. Not Trump.

        Come up with real answers and not blaming people who are just doing what other administrations started and groups who want responsible gun ownership…. which is above and beyond what the second amendment says is needed.

      3. Yeah, because they are pushing for a plan that has proven results in other places in the world with similar gun laws and even in the US in businesses that vendor high-value items.

        You know who else wanted to ban guns? Hitler, Hussein, Stalin. Why? So that there could never be any rebellion strong enough to usurp their power.

        The fact that Trump is not pushing for a gun ban makes me feel safer. People don’t want to learn from history, they think that their thoughts reign supreme when someone has already thought and tried the same thing before. Banning guns is a bad idea even if school shootings tripled. However, the truth of the matter is that almost 100$ of the worst shootings in recent history happened in “gun safe zones”. Yet places, where people are allowed to be armed somehow, don’t get robbed or shot. Any place of business with high valuables, like coin shops, gold shops, etc has their employees trained and armed with guns because it works. Yet, in schools where there is children, infinitely higher value than any material item, we fight so hard against allowing guns on the side of the good guys even when not having guns hasn’t worked out so far.

        If you’re thinking that you can prevent school shootings by banning guns then you’re crazy. If you think that banning guns will even put a dent in the accessibility of illegal firearms then you’re even crazier. When the US tried to ban alcohol it caused more people to drink, not less. The same thing will happen with guns. The moment they are banned more criminals will try to obtain them because they know that with a gun they’ll have freedom to rob anyone and the smart gun owners will also attempt to keep their guns illegally to continue to stay safe.

        In short, the best solution to keeping children safe is to one, make people more hesitant to try and shoot up a school and two, to be able to end the shootings sooner when they do happen. Can you guess how you do that? DING DING DING, allow teachers/staff to be armed.

    2. I can have no idea.of.the many holsters and apparatuses there are for men amd woman. I have been carrying a gun with a conceal carry permit for over 30 years and at no time have I had to leave my gun unintended or have I ever had a situation that I did not fitearm. In my 30 years of carry been involved I have taught in class roomswith children less fortunate than most. The opportunity for a child to relinquish me of my firearm was non-exasistant because I was train as the teachers will be in these states.
      The percentages of anyone being able to brandish and open fire any firearm before I made a compromising shot would be quite favorable to my side. So this in all I think you should offer little or nothing from now on.

    3. You don’t have to carry a gun if you don’t want to, nobody is making it required it is an option. No body is saying you have to where pants to have holster to carry a gun. But would you rather get shot or have the ability to possibly protect your students

      1. If others are carrying a gun, I’m still being subjected to an environment of gun fanatics even when I don’t carry.

        1. Someone carrying a gun = gun fanatic?

          Somehow the people trying to keep you safe having guns makes you more uncomfortable than the prospect of someone trying to kill you with one. That really makes me doubt the validity of anything you say because you’re obviously one screw loose.

    4. Statistics of school shootings are every increasing and programs to intervene before it happens simply do not work. Allowing teachers to carry does not force people to carry if they do not want to. If laws were passed and zero teachers actually carried, shootings would still go down. The law is a deterrent to potential shooters and enables people who are comfortable protecting their pupils and putting their lives before their own may carry if the choose to do so. Everyone is looking at this the wrong way. You are an uninformed person with so much political bias that you cannot see the other side or even the middle view on the subject. If a teacher dedicates their life to educating and helping children wouldn’t it be their responsibility to ensure that their children actually make it to graduation before being gunned down? Bottom line. Statistics and facts show that “intervening” is accomplishing absolutely nothing. People are still attacking schools and gaining momentum. Present a better idea than arming good guys please.

  5. Guns of war need to be removed from our supposed civil society! Elect Democrats because there ‘s absolutely no chance of gun reform under the crazy Republicans!

    1. Sad to say, however the weapons available to the public are NOT weapons of war. Please explain how more laws are going to stop people who are already breaking multiple laws. This isn’t a gun issue, it’s a people issue. Maybe if we make people accountable for their actions instead of excusing them.

    2. Ok, let me just say this. I haven’t heard a single bill that speaks of ANYTHING other than taking the right to a gun away from anyone other than LEGAL LAW ABIDING CITIZENS. How do you plan on taking guns from criminals? Enlighten me. Have I just never seen such ideas? Do you wanna live in a world where the vast majority of guns are in the arms of criminals or law-abiding citizens.

  6. We don’t need more guns, we need fewer guns!!! I work in a school and I don’t want to carry a gun or work with a person that is carrying one. If I was a parent with school aged children I would seriously consider home schooling!! We need more educators for smaller classes and more counselors. Why are people who have no idea how a school operates making these stupid proposals!!!

    1. How many shootings have occurred at schools where teachers are armed?

      Why have the vast majority of school shootings occurred since Biden’s gun free zone law was pit into effect?

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