In response to the Florida school shooting, President Trump has suggested that teachers in the US should be armed. The Second Amendment of the US Constitution protects the people’s right to own arms — nowadays, Americans are very proud of this amendment. Some individuals may agree with Trump and argue that giving teachers guns will improve the response to an armed attack on a school and reduce the number of casualties; students will not be just ‘sitting ducks’. However, this argument has many flaws.

The right to own arms has demonstrated that more people have been harmed than protected, which will not be prevented by allowing teachers to carry guns. As of February 2018, there have been five school shootings. Schools are meant to be places where students should feel safe and be in an environment of learning and inspiration, not one of fear and hate.

In contrast, Japan, despite being another country where one can legally buy arms, has practically eradicated the issue of gun crime. In 2014, only six people had died from gun violence in comparison to the 33,599 in America.

Why is this the case? The process of buying a gun is much longer in Japan, which makes the whole procedure safer — ill-meaning individuals usually get caught through the compulsory exams. So, rather than arming US teachers, wouldn’t the smarter option be to change the law and make buying a gun that much harder?

Also, given that police brutality is still rife in America, the question that could begin to arise is: will teacher brutality become an issue? As of 2016, black boys are more likely to be suspended than white boys, and black girls are four times as likely to be suspended than white girls. Moreover, black students’ misbehaviour is more likely to be criminalised than other students’. As racism is apparent in schools, teachers may use their gun if an individual of colour ‘acts out’ — something that happens frequently and may be used to defend ‘not feeling safe’ and pulling the trigger.

Although the above argument holds little evidence, it is still worth considering. Especially, in light of the fact that police are three times more likely to kill black men through the use of force.

There are also those who feel that rather than provide teachers with guns, the U.S Government should be spending their money elsewhere, such as healthcare. Healthcare in the States is not free for the public, and Trump’s attempts to scrap Obamacare, which helped millions of Americans, leaves the American public at a significant health disadvantage. So the irony is that Trump is taking away what is left of universal healthcare in order to give out guns ….

American students have now taken their concerns to the streets, protesting against gun ownership. However, the response to their fight for ‘justice’ is quite alarming, with many schools stating that they will suspend protesting individuals. Americans say ‘God bless America’, yet where is their morality and equality? Why do they protect the rights of gun owners and not those of students, who only wish to feel safe?

President Trump’s advice to give teachers guns is very flawed and posses a threat to the lives of children in schools. The bottom line is that you don’t fight fire with fire. The solution to the issue of guns and shootings lies elsewhere than provoking teachers towards violence.

By: Aleksandra Groborz and Ela Guler

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