Trump Wants To Put Guns In Schools. Here's Research That Says That's A Terrible Idea.
Donald Trump is considering a divisive proposal that would, in essence, fight fire with fire — or firearms with firearms. He held an emotional listening session at the White House with survivors of the mass shooting at Parkland, Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which he discussed arming school teachers and coaches with guns — but putting more guns in schools to combat guns in schools just doesn't make all that much sense. And for a myriad of reasons.
Trump noted that "it only works when you have people very adept at using firearms, of which you have many." So, he said "it would be teachers and coaches" who would go for "special training."
He referred to Aaron Feis, the assistant football coach and security guard at Douglas High School who was among the 17 people shot and killed last week, according to The Guardian. He said, "That coach was very brave, saved a lot of lives, I suspect — but, if he had a firearm, he wouldn’t have had to run; he would have shot him, and that would have been the end of it."
Attacks lasts, on average, about three minutes, Trump added. But it takes five to eight minutes for responders to show. Therefore, if teachers had firearms, Trump said they could "end the attack very quickly."
But there's a lot of research that shows why Trump's plan is a bad one, and why it could actually result in more lives lost. First, trained police officers hit their targets just 30 percent of the time, according to TIME, so turning teachers into sharpshooters would be... difficult, to say the least. But even if someone like Feis did indeed have a gun on them, they wouldn't necessarily be able to stop a mass shooter anyway. There's simply no empirical evidence to support that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
If we really want to get into it, statistically, it's more likely that someone with a concealed carry permit will actually commit mass murder rather than prevent it, according to the Pacific Standard. According to an analysis by the Violence Policy Center, at least 29 mass shootings since 2007 were carried out by assailants with concealed carry permits — and that's more than three times the number of those with concealed permits who've prevented mass shootings.
Only seven of the 160 mass shootings that took place between 2000 and 2013 ended because of a good guy with a gun, according to 2014 FBI data, The Huffington Post reported.
It's not that armed civilians don't want to help, of course. People with canceled carry permits at the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon told Politico that, though they wanted to help by using their weapon, they didn’t want to shoot at the assailant because they feared making themselves targets or hitting other innocents.
Besides, if they did try to help, it could have made matters worse. There were 20 to 30 "good guys" openly carrying guns among the protesters Dallas police were supervising in 2016 when a bad guy with a gun opened fire, according to The Washington Post. "In the middle of a firefight it’s hard to pick out the good guys and the bad guys," Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said, according to The Washington Post.
Officers didn't know from where the shooting was coming, how many people were involved or what weapons they were facing, so innocent, gun-toting protestors became suspects, The Post reported.
But a "gun-free" zone to a "maniac," according to Trump, is an invite to attack. If shooters knew that there was a possibility that they'd be shot back, they'd be deterred, according to Trump's logic. If that were the case, we wouldn't have mass shootings in places like Texas, where there are open carry permits. We also wouldn't have attacks in airports, where there are armed security guards. And because a lot of mass shooters end up killing themselves, do we really think the risk of getting shot by someone else is going to stop them?
Trump asked the listening session for a show of hands over the proposal — of course, some were in favor and some were against it.
"We can understand both sides and, certainly, it’s controversial," he acknowledged, according to The Guardian. But let's not forget that this is all coming from the same man who tweeted during the presidential election in May 2016, "Crooked Hillary [Clinton] said that I want guns brought into the school classroom. Wrong!"
And yes, the idea is a wrong one — and the evidence proves it.