Some States are Already Arming their Teachers

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Paul Bedard, columnist, is a weekly guest with Mike Miller and the Morning News on 1150 WIMA.

Despite complaints from teacher unions and Trump critics, allowing educators to carry weapons in schools is already happening in eight states and another six are headed in that direction, a demonstration of support for the president’s call in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting.

What’s more, some schools, government buildings and even churches are taking the step of providing powerful pepper spray guns that have been shown to stop attackers cold, a potential non-lethal backup system that has national applications.

While it is mostly a state and local decision to put guns in schools, President Trump’s support has drawn new attention to those states that are safely using that model.

According to the Wall Street Journal, eight states including Texas, Kansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming allow teachers to pack heat and at least more six states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Maryland, and Oklahoma are considering legislation to let school personnel carry weapons. Its source was the Education Commission of the States.

George Washington University public interest law professor John Banzhaf said those states provide a model of a system like Trump has called for. He has suggested that teachers who already have a concealed carry weapon permits be allowed to voluntarily carry their guns in school or arm themselves with mace-like bear spray used by hunters.

That, he said, “could be an effective strategy, especially in rural communities where it may take 30 minutes or more for armed law enforcement officials to reach an active shooter scene, and where voters are more accepting of guns.”

He pointed to airlines that also have a voluntary program among pilots who are allowed to carry guns.

Arming pilots, he said “undercuts the argument that nobody but experts should be permitted to use a gun in crowded situations such as those which might exist if, for example, a shooter enters a classroom. Any situation in which a pilot would have to use a handgun in the air is almost always much more crowded, and with many more people at risk, than in a school shooting situation.”

Meanwhile, a company called Alternative Defense Strategies LLC told Secrets that it has produced a successful pepper gel deterrent called Safe Zone CM that is being used in in Ohio schools, government buildings, doctor’s offices and churches.

“Safe Zone puts a powerful, law enforcement strength pepper gel canister in locked cabinets and mobile sling bags that can be strategically placed throughout any facility so it’s in reach if violence breaks out.

With 16 ounces of pepper gel that projects up to 25 feet, operators can blast multiple people, if needed, and it requires only gross motor skills to hit the target,” a company spokeswoman said.

“With the discussion around school defense post-Parkland revolving solely around arming teachers, the non-lethal solutions we offer are being missed. Yet, we know from our customers, they are capable of using simple defense products effectively, and they much prefer our non-lethal solution to putting more guns into private and public places,” she said.

Banzhaf endorsed that idea. “Schools or even individual teachers can purchase the spray canisters from Safe Zone enclosed in a small safe which can be bolted to a wall in a classroom. A teacher can open it easily by pushing a few buttons in the correct sequence; something which can be done even in the dark or if a teacher is temporarily blinded, able to use only one hand,” he said.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at

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