A growing number of teachers and school administrators are learning to use firearms under an ambitious program launched a few years ago in Ohio that has now reached educators in several states.
Called FASTER (for “Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response”), this project was profiled by Fox News, and it has been discussed at the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference. The project is operated by the Buckeye Firearms Association in Ohio, and it gains more traction as more educators learn about it.
Currently, 18 states allow adults to carry firearms on school campuses, according to the Fox News story. In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012, several school districts across the nation have allowed some teachers or administrators to carry guns on campus. Other districts have arranged with local law enforcement for stepped-up campus security.
Under the FASTER program, teachers become students and go through a 26-hour course that, according to the story, exceeds the requirements of the Ohio Peace Officer’s Training Academy. This would certainly refute arguments from anti-gunners that private citizens aren’t trained as well as police.
These armed instructors have the training to be “first responders.” That’s really no different than any other armed private citizen in any other public setting where a terrorist or crazy person might open fire. Police are almost guaranteed to not be there when the shooting starts, so it is up to individuals caught in that scenario to run, hide or fight. It is easier to fight if one has the tools with which to do the fighting.
Not surprisingly, opponents of armed teachers or administrators don’t seem to understand that. Their arguments that there should not be guns on school campuses lose all credibility the moment some killer shows up to ignore the “gun free school zone” law.
The Fox News story estimated that some 23,000 schools now have some kind of armed security. That amounts to roughly one-third of all the public schools in the country. So far, it does not appear that anyone has been endangered by any teacher or administrator authorized to carry at school.