OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Oklahoma chapters of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after the Oklahoma Senate voted to advance HB 2336, legislation that would dramatically cut the training requirements for teachers carrying guns in school.
“It’s bad enough that some teachers in Oklahoma are able to carry guns in the classroom,” said Kay Malan, a volunteer with the Oklahoma chapter of Moms Demand Action. “But this bill makes an already risky situation so much worse. It scares me to think about the unintended tragedies that could happen if someone with minimal safety training carries a gun around my grandchildren all day long.”
“Allowing teachers to carry guns in classrooms with even less training would put me at risk,” said Sarah Stone, a volunteer with Edmond Students Demand Action. “I should be worrying about tests and grades in school, not the unintentional shootings that HB 2336 could lead to.”
There is no research indicating that arming teachers makes children safer. In fact, increasing the number of teachers that are armed in schools also increases the likelihood of guns being improperly used or falling into the wrong hands. In Texas, a school resource officer’s gun unintentionally discharged while he was at school. In Alabama, a substitute teacher’s gun unintentionally discharged in his pocket as he taught first-graders. And in Missouri, a teacher’s gun was stolen by a student in school.
Instead of gutting the training requirements on an already risky law, lawmakers should focus on tactics that would actually make schools safer. Yesterday, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and Everytown for Gun Safety released an updated report of recommended school safety practices, which include physical security upgrades, implementing threat assessment programs and providing mental health counseling for students.
More information on the risk of arming teachers is available here. More information on gun violence in Oklahoma is available here.