By Colleen Conley
From Colorado to Florida, campuses, school districts and legislatures have been increasingly willing to toss out the vulnerabilities that come hand-in-hand with “gun-free zones” in favor of concealed carry for adequately trained individuals.
School officials in rural Hanover, CO voted 3-2 on Dec. 14 in favor of a measure allowing “qualified” teachers the option of volunteering to carry firearms to ensure the safety of their students.
Mark McPherson, president of the Hanover School District’s Board of Education, stated that the distance from the local police station to the schools resulted in delays in emergency response times, according to KBDO News.
“We’ve got a great sheriffs’ department, but it does take them 20-30 minutes to get to our location,” he explained.
The approval came exactly four years after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that resulted in the deaths of 20 children and 6 staff members by 20-year-old Adam Lanza. The Newtownn, CT school was a designated gun-free zone.
Teachers who opt to carry firearms on the job in Hanover will be required to have permits and complete a gun safety course.
Similarly, in Florida, Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, introduced a bill in December that would allow Floridians with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry handguns, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Steube’s proposed measure would expand the places where people with concealed-weapons licenses are allowed to carry firearms, and would include elementary and secondary schools, as well as college and university campuses.
Other school districts in Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and California have adopted similar policies for teachers.
Last year, Lynchburg, Virginia-based Liberty University approved a policy allowing students to carry guns in dorms.
The positive response of students was enormous with over 900 co-eds signing up to take gun-safety and training classes. The university is now seeking a permit to build the first National Rifle Association approved on-campus shooting range in the U.S. The outdoor space will include a pistol range, a rifle range, an instructional area, and a 3-gun competition range, with future plans for an indoor firing range. It will be available to students, faculty, staff and the general public.
The interest in allowing concealed carry on school campuses comes in the wake of increased fears of lone wolves, terrorists, and others who prey upon gun-free facilities. The perpetrators often target these areas with the knowledge that they will likely encounter little initial resistance from potential victims before the arrival of law enforcement on the scene.
Indeed, an analysis by The Daily Signal of Stanford University Libraries’ dataset of mass shootings over the past 14 years reinforces the rationale for these policy changes. In the shootings which fit the study’s criteria, the shooter chose locations where guns were banned 37 times (69 percent). Alternatively, the shooting occurred where guns were legally allowed only 17 times (31 percent).