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Emma Stadelmann, Beginning Journalism Writer

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In light of the recent Florida school shooting, President Donald Trump proposed a plan to stop gun violence. Instead of creating laws that limit who can buy a gun, President Trump’s solution is to arm teachers.

This method of ending gun violence is not only ineffective, it is dangerous. I would go so far as to say that arming school teachers could cause even more gun violence at schools. What the United States needs is laws that limit who can possess a gun.

Currently, any United States citizen can buy a gun so long as they are 18 or older (exceptions apply), do not have a serious (diagnosed) mental illness and do not a have an extensive criminal record. While there are a few restraints in obtaining a gun, there are not nearly enough. It is still possible for almost any adult in the United States to buy a gun. If someone wished to murder students, the tools they would need are readily at their disposal.

You may argue that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” A large part of Donald Trump’s plan involves addressing mental illness in order to prevent those with mental conditions from starting violence. While mental illness does tie in with this shooting, I challenge you with this question: had the shooter in Parkland not had access to a gun, would he have taken 17 lives? With a knife, he could have caused injuries and even death. However, it is likely that he would have been restrained in a matter of minutes. A gun is different. Killing is fast, easy, and achievable from a distance. President Trump wants to blame this shooting on mental illness. A mentally ill person can’t shoot up a school unless they have a gun.

Donald Trump has suggested that the United States could cut back on gun violence if we armed up to 20% of all teachers. This is a terrible idea for many reasons. First, arming teachers does not remove guns from schools, it ensures that there are guns in schools. Even if teachers were trained to use these guns, that does not guarantee that someone who wanted to use a teacher’s gun for harm would not be able to obtain it. Let’s face it- there are teachers who could be overpowered by a group of students or even one student. Putting a gun in the classroom and trusting that it will never be misused is negligent.

Next, arming teachers could cause further violence if a threat appeared. Recently, there has been a lot of news about police officers killing civilians in self defense. In these cases, many argue that police officers shot prematurely or shot because of the victim’s skin color. My worry is that the same could be true for teachers. An armed teacher provides just another weapon that can kill students. If threatened, a teacher with a gun could add to violence instead of ending it.

Lastly, it is not a teacher’s responsibility to be trained in gun use. A teacher should not be expected to know how to kill potential threats to their students. Obviously teachers are expected to protect students in the event of a shooting, but it is not their responsibility to take the life of the shooter. A teacher’s job is to educate, not to be trained with a gun and willing to kill.

If President Trump wanted police officers stationed at schools, at least the individuals with guns would be acting in their area of expertise. A police officer is expected to use guns appropriately and only when necessary. It is actually part of their job. Giving a gun to a teacher is only counterproductive.

In conclusion, President Trump’s so called gun violence prevention will only lead to more issues. What the United States needs are laws that ensure that guns are controlled and sold mindfully. When it comes down to it, a student’s safety far outweighs the right for anyone to own a gun.

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Wrong Answer