Letter to the Editor: Licensed concealed handguns would beef up school security

[Editor's note: Dr. Mike Jones wrote this in response to an Editor's Blog several weeks ago that voice an opinion against arming teachers in schools. The blog is still running on this site if you want to read it.]

Yes, I’m very pro-gun and would support CHL (concealed handgun license) holders — teachers, admin, parents — in schools. I’ll support the Glen Rose school board in its recent decision to beef up security, but even this additional resource officer is going to be spread a little thin considering there are three campuses he will be covering, and with a pretty obvious vehicle, I could tell you where he is not.

Realistically, the likelihood of “our” school being a victim of mass violence is pretty small, statistically speaking. Realistically again, the likelihood of any one of our teachers or visitors having a heart attack is even significantly higher. I can’t even remember a fire in our schools, but we still have fire protection systems. Just as every individual needs to be competent in CPR for immediate assistance, I would rather see 15-20 potential CHL’s on campus than a roving officer being the sole protector in those first few minutes.

Absolutely, if you are the first person the aggressor comes across (be it civilian or armed officer), you’re also the likely first fatality. What I don’t want to be is the 2nd or 3rd, or hiding in the next classroom, or at the adjacent theater, or on the other side of Luby’s as someone is causing mayhem without opposition. That incident, at Luby’s, is what prompted Texas to allow concealed carry.

In schools,some won’t carry, and that’s their option. They can shepherd the kids out of harm’s way. Some will carry, and they may be the shepherd that confronts the wolves. You can’t guard or secure every entrance, or cover every event outside the classroom, so let’s use the collective protective base of all the mother bears out there (and dads). A California school just made the decision to provide armed security for their schools, but they had to cut out teacher and counselor positions. Glen Rose at least has a little more latitude on financing, but statewide, it would cost close to a billion dollars to cover the 8,300 campuses with just one officer each.

Another thought, in my lifetime, I have never had to use a fire extinguisher. That doesn’t mean I want to take them out of my home or office, it just means I’ve never had a fire that needed it. Over the same period, I’ve used a firearm on numerous four legged (or legless) intruders, but never on people. Even still, I’ll keep both around so as not be the victim of either a fire, or the “second” victim in a shooting. By the historical evidence of assaults, the first victim didn’t see it coming.

For clarification, I spoke to the school board without a prepared text, and asked them to strongly consider allowing CHL’s as an effective and immediate solution to the security concerns. It was little bit of editorial hyperbole to say that was the context of my presentation. “Arm the schools” or whatever the title.

CHL implies handguns, concealed, on your person, at all times. Not on the hip like Dirty Harry, not in a purse, not in a desk to be found by a student. If you can’t keep it on your person, don’t carry. No one but you actually knows you would have it. Disgruntled students, if prone to violence as in Columbine, wouldn’t be stealing your weapon.

If an armed assailant was in a school, absolutely you’d be in lockdown, and you would shepherd your kids into a closet or corner with you between them and the locked door. At that point, you could have been the one who chose not to have a CHL, or you could have one last step of protection. Always your choice.

Thanks for having this forum.

Mike Jones

Glen Rose

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