June 15, 2022

Christine Emba: Ohio Republicans’ proposal to arm teachers is an act of cowardice

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At the Washington Post, Christine Emba addresses the cowardice and foolishness behind the Ohio GIO’s decision to arm teachers.

So Republican lawmakers in Ohio want to protect children from gun violence — with more guns.

Last week, in response to the school shooting in Uvalde, Tex., and other high-profile episodes of mass murder, the Ohio legislature passed a bill allowing local boards of education to permit teachers to carry a firearm in the classroom, making it one of nearly 20 states to do so.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has indicated that he is eager to sign the bill into law. “I thank the General Assembly for passing this bill to protect Ohio children and teachers,” he said in a statement.

But proposals like this are nothing to celebrate. They are an act of cowardice.

It seems barely worth rehashing the reasons that arming teachers is not the way to end mass shootings.

The idea, ostensibly, is that a teacher with a gun could leap into action and disable or even kill a potential attacker. But research shows that in a shootout, even highly trained police officers are accurate less than half the time. There’s no reason to expect that a teacher with far less experience with guns could do better.

Studies have also found no evidence that arming teachers would meaningfully protect against school shootings, and that armed adults frequently mishandle their own weapons on school grounds.

Plus, polling consistently finds that most teachers don’t want to be armed; they want to teach. Classrooms are supposed to be spaces of learning and growth, not places for “hardening.”

Yet the Ohio GOP would rather create an ouroboros of guns — mass shooters faced by teacher shooters who themselves shoot back, everyone armed to the hilt — than entertain the obvious and less convoluted solution: gun regulation that would keep deadly firearms out of the hands of potential killers, and out of our classrooms, in the first place.

Read the full editorial here.

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