Guns and Teachers

234091_pistolWhen I moved to quiet Southern Oregon from wild and wooly Southern California, I caught bits and pieces of a local debate about allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons in schools. I believe the debate is still going on, I’ll admit I’m not completely clear about all the arguments pro and con here, but the issue made me think. What would I say if I had a child in school here? As far as school goes, my frame of reference is two fold, my own school experience as a child, and my experience on school campuses when I was a cop.


When I was a kid, yeah, here I go dating myself, school was fun. I don’t recall not liking or fearing anything unless it was math. In grade school I loved recess and running and playing, in high school where there was considerably more angst and I was never in the popular or fast crowd, I found a niche playing sports.


Fast-forward several years to being in uniform and heading to school campuses in an entirely different capacity, I didn’t particularly like it. Of course I was there investigating a crime, but the atmosphere seemed to be charged with such a disrespect for all authority, at least on high school campuses, especially police, that I really didn’t like being there. (Note: I never worked DARE, those officers might have an entirely different perspective)

I was also still in uniform when Columbine happened, and I remember the drills and the training we went through should anything like that develop in Long Beach. It was sobering to consider having to storm a school campus in search of an armed gunman, or two.


All of this went through my mind as I considered the idea of armed teachers. I’m a supporter of gun rights; I’m also a supporter of responsible gun ownership. Training I received in the police academy has never left me. You have an awesome responsibility when you carry a gun. The responsibility multiplies if for some reason you have to point that weapon at someone. We were told that we might be confronted by a situation where we had to take a life. Could we live with that?

I always believed that if I had to defend myself or someone else that I could live with the decision.

I assume that if teachers were permitted to carry guns in school they too would go through training and be asked hard questions. It’s one thing if a teacher has to confront an armed adult who obviously doesn’t belong on the campus, but suppose the teacher has to confront an armed 12-year-old? Yes, an armed 12-year old could do a lot of damage, but it boggles the mind to think of a teacher having to shoot one.

Where do I stand on armed teachers? I don’t know. I know here in Oregon, things appear to be a lot calmer, a lot safer, than Southern California, but the police presence is greater in CA and I imagine response times quicker, for the most part.


To me though, it’s such a sad world when we even have to contemplate such a thing.



44 Responses to Guns and Teachers

  1. Sherry A March 4, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    These are very good questions. I often wonder if a teacher could take the life of a student, but then it is difficult to imagine a “child” taking another child’s life. It is heart wrenching to think this is the world are children are living in.

    • Dawn Nicol March 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

      I agree that it is sad that we even have to consider something like this but do feel that many things need to be considered before allowing teachers to carry guns. Therefore, it would seem like there would be a lot of red tape and government involvement as well as possible expense. Would it be cost effective to have more effective barriers and security personnel? I am a teacher and know that I do not know how to even hold a gun correctly let alone shoot one.

      Personally, I feel we need God brought back into schools.

      • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

        Dawn, thanks for the work you do! If you message me your address on FB, I’ll send you a book. Or you can email me,

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

      It is, I can’t imagine being a kid today. Thanks Sherry!

  2. Karen Thomas March 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    It’s so sad that our country has come to this decision of having guns in school. I think that a teacher would need extensive training….with the gun and the mental aspect also. But it concerns me that the students would know who has a gun and where it is located. Times have changed so much since I was in school. No respect and no responsibility.

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

      It’s a shame. to even think about kids being devious enough to search out a teachers gun, but that is the world we live in. I pray for the safety of innocent children.

  3. Jeannie Schmidt March 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    Hi Janice. I read the unpublished version of Visible Threat which you sent me last December and thought it was great. You also mentioned a signed copy when it was released.

    Looking forward to more of your books. Thanks again

    • Jeannie Schmidt March 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm #


    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

      Got you covered Jeannie! I still have your address on my blotter!

  4. Frank Tan March 4, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    Hopefully there will be stringent requirements and training for the teachers who have a carry permit to bring firearms into a school situation with plenty of kids. It’s worrisome that this is the reality of life right now.

    On a lighter note, I wonder if knowing your teacher has a carry permit would lessen the possibility of students acting up or playing pranks.

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

      Good question! I like to think guns would be a deterrent. Thanks for the comment Frank.

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

      Frank, if you message me your address, I’ll send you a book. or email,

  5. charles cobbley March 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    I had some teachers that I would never want to have a gun and also who I don’t think would have wanted to be armed. I also had some teachers I would have fully trusted with a weapon and would have liked to be armed.

    Training has to be rigorous, repetitive and required. Teachers must have to qualify like police officers. The key is training and practice, practice, practice.

    Today’s world is much different than when I was in school and the kids have a right to know they have a chance of being protected from any nutjob that seeks to harm them.

  6. Doretha March 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    My children are out of school but I have a grandson in school. Still I favor letting teachers carry weapons. If the perpetrator knew someone at school was armed they might think twice about targeting schools. If we trust them to teach our children, we should trust them with weapons.

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

      Good point! We do trust them to care for the kids most of the day. Dorthea, if you send me your address, I’ll send you a book. Or email

  7. Terry Carlsen March 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    I am not sure of the right answer but feel if the teacher is well trained to protect my child, I would prefer they had the ability to do so in a draastic situation.

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

      We just need to pray that the drastic situation doesn’t happen!
      Thanks Terry If you message me your address, I’ll send you a book.
      or email,

  8. Barbara Thompson March 4, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    I come from a family that hunts and as a child that was our food majority of the time. So I was raised with guns and have always been around guns, but I was raised with rules and regulations of safety. My parents kept the guns locked up. Times have changed so much. We did not have all these video games and we did not watch any type of violent movies. Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about guns for teachers at school. There are many pros and cons (good educators and bad educators).

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

      Some of those video games are downright scary! Thanks for the comment!

  9. Paula Gentry March 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    It is so different now than when I went to school and I am so fearful for my grandson. My feelings are so mixed about teachers being able to have guns. On one hand others would not be so quick to shoot others if they knew that the teachers are armed but what if a teacher grew so frustrated with a student that they shot the student? I do enjoy your books and enjoy reading them.

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

      I would pray if the teacher did have a gun, he or she would have super judgment! Message me your address and I will send you a book. or email,

  10. Lynn :O) March 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    I hate the thought of, but am not opposed to, teachers having guns. The sad part is, that is not what being a teacher is about. It’s not what they signed up for. Being a teacher is about filling minds with knowledge, seeing potential and encouraging it, nurturing and cultivating. To add protecting and policing to their list of qualifications is a terrible new burden for them. I would much rather see heightened security in other areas of the school and classroom than for a teacher to have to take on that responsibility.

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

      Lynn, that is a great point, teachers have so much on their plates already.
      Thanks for commenting!

  11. Sharyl Lewis March 4, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    Things are so different from when I was in school in during 80s’ and 90s’.

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

      Sharyl, sometimes change is good, but where school safety is concerned, not so much.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Dawn Nicol March 4, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your perspective from the law enforcement side. As a teacher, I thought more from the school’s point of view. It is so important to look at all sides and possible consequences/expenses before going forward with anything related to this issue. But it is equally important to take the time to do this and come up with a valid plan to protect out children.

  13. Brooke @ i blog 4 books March 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    This debate comes up from time to time around here—usually when there’s been a school shooting somewhere in the US. I’m all for supporting gun rights but it definitely gives me pause to think of teachers having guns. I wonder if people are really considering the reality of teachers shooting a student on a shooting/killing spree—not just adults or strangers—when they engage in these debates. I just think about the trauma that would cause for so many people.

    Great topic for discussion. There’s definitely more to consider on this issue!

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

      Brooke, thanks for sharing! It is a hot topic.

  14. Donna B March 4, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    It is sad that this is what it has come to in America! When I went to school, we didn’t have any worries about gunmen or gangs. I think having the teachers armed is a good thing but don’t know if most could really shoot someone if it came to that. I think for most people just knowing that the teachers are armed would be a deterrent to cause trouble. I know there isn’t any respect for those in authority anymore and I wouldn’t want to be a teacher now!

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

      Donna, I have great respect for teachers, they’ve got quite a responsibility! Thanks for commenting,

  15. Steph Holscher March 4, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

    I cannot imagine being a teacher in this day and age. Kids today are forced to grow up so fast because things like this are happening and the media always makes the gunmen seem glamorous. It seems to me kids are far more cruel than they used to be and they are also left to themselves a lot more. It makes me sad.

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

      Steph, Kids do grow up too fast. And once innocence is lost, it’s gone. Very sad.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Beth Seemann March 4, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    Hi Janice,
    I love reading your books and hearing your stories. I wanted to be a highway patrolman but back in the day they had a height restriction and I hadn’t fully grown up yet so I never made it. I am a veteran though and love my country. I started watching people as a kid and have caught several people shoplifting. Can’t stand people that break the law. Please keep writing your books. I would be more than honored if you chose me to receive one of your books.

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

      Hi Beth, glad you took the time to comment. Message me your address, and I’ll send you a book!
      or email

  17. Mocha with Linda March 4, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    It has become such a scary and heartbreaking world. As said above, there are some teachers who would handle being armed very well and I would trust them. Others, notsomuch!

    I am dumbfounded at the lack of respect for life and authority that exists in the world in general today, and especially in the schools. About eight years ago I was volunteering in my kids’ elementary school library and a kindergartener refused to do what I told him to do. And I am tall and was using a pretty authoritative voice. I was completely amazed. When I was in elementary, if a teacher barely scolded me, I was petrified! How times have changed.

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

      Thanks Linda! Hope things are going well, glad you stopped by.

  18. Mary March 4, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    It’hard to think about how bad some of our schools are. When I was a kid, our teacher’s weapons were things like yardsticks & paddles, much dreaded by those who frequently seemed to tangle with them! My son-in law is a teacher & he does not want to carry a weapon.

    • Janice Cantore March 4, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

      Thanks Mary! You son in law has a tough job on his hands.

  19. Jacqueline Robertson March 4, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    I would approve of certain designated staff to carry a weapon or have quick access to one, but I would not think it wise to have all staff armed. (Retired teacher’s opinion).

  20. Amy March 4, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

    Janice it is a huge question that is very important to me. I am and have been a teacher for the past 18 years. I have taught in the public school and am fortunate to be in the the private school at this time. However, I have debated this issue many times over my career. Possessing a gun is a HUGE responsibility and must be taken seriously. The thing that fears me most is that a teacher’s gun may end up in the wrong hands. If a student knows that a teacher has a gun on them or in the room, they no longer have to bring a weapon to school to do damage, they just have to get a hold of it, one less hoop for them to jump through.

    I just discovered your books and LOVE them! Thank you for writing Christian police dramas.

  21. Connie Brown March 4, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    I too had to make the decision of could I take a life if the life of someone else or my own where in danger when I became a police officer. This was after I taught for a year and had one of the worst years of my life. I did go back to teaching later. I also taught during the week and worked as a sheriff’s deputy on the weekends and in the summer. I did not carry on campus. I think there are times when it would be good to have a weapon on campus as in the instances of Columbine or the university shootings or the elementary school shootings. It might have stopped things before they got so bad. You have to be strong to make the decision. Is it Christian? I think it can be. I sparred with a person online about it. If you can stop someone else from being hurt I think it is Christian. It is the no greater love thing, lay down your life for a friend. You may not lay down your life but you put yourself in danger for someone else. After all, when you are on duty you are there to protect and serve, correct?

  22. Connie Brown March 4, 2014 at 9:48 pm #

    I have to say I also had some funny situations that came from my time teaching and on duty. Tuba players can be funny when you catch them at a party with alcohol and they are under age. Strange when students find that you have been an officer. Some are awed, some think they have to challenge you and some are just good kids.

  23. Rebecca Maney March 5, 2014 at 6:09 am #

    I agree with you. It’s a sad day when we even have to talk about whether or not teachers should be able to carry concealed weapons on campus. An education degree should not have to include self-protection.

  24. Blain March 11, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    As a state trooper in “nothing will happen here” Wyoming, I would have no problem with teachers carrying concealed weapons in the schools. My only concern is that there would need to be a way for the law enforcement departments to know who may have a gun in the event something was happening at the school. I don’t want to have to worry if the teacher is there to help or hurt!
    In Wyoming, it is assumed that everyone has a gun in their vehicle and on their person, it’s Wyoming!
    I did see that the Wyoming Legislature killed the bill that would have allowed for this to be implemented this year.

    Thank you for your service.

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