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Armed teachers can save lives. While The People of the Gun know this, others who are less familiar with firearms don’t always recognize this simple truth. Forty open-minded Illinois school teachers and staff members participated in a free concealed carry course this past weekend to learn more about guns and gun safety. And, of course, how guns save life.

The Land of Lincoln’s gun rights group Guns Save Life sponsored the free opportunity for school staff, along with the DeWitt County Sportsman’s Club which donated the facilities. GSL Defense Training organized the class in the weeks following the Parkland, Florida school massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The timing seemed right in light of increased discussions both locally and nationally of arming more good guys with guns to protect America’s children during school shootings. We thought of it as a whole new sort of professional development for education professionals, countering an active shooter, just in time for back-to-school.

Sixteen GSL Defense Training instructors, including myself, along with five other Illinois State Police-approved guest instructors volunteered to instruct and coach. Forty school employees, who were not law enforcement or police officers, showed up, and thirty-nine graduated (we lost one student due to illness on the second day).

Armed Teachers Can Save Lives: Guns Save Life's Free Teacher CCW Class

During introductions, we learned that the participants ranged from a school bus driver to an administrator. Elementary school, middle school and high school teachers made up the bulk of those present. One private school alone sent almost a dozen teachers, but most came from public schools. A few other school districts sent more than one. The vast majority of participants didn’t own a firearm. About a third of them had never fired a gun.

Even though few had familiarity with any sort of firearms, experienced red-shirted instructors remained no more than an arm’s length away to coach, assist and encourage safe learning.

Firearms training on a suitable training course can stop gun violence before a mass shooting occurs on school grounds.

Most notably — and much to Michael Bloomberg’s chagrin — those educators now no longer belong to the “never fired a gun” fraternity. In fact, they all gained the experience of firing 250 rounds over two days.

Armed Teachers Can Save Lives: Guns Save Life's Free Teacher CCW Class

After introductions, these rookies learned basic gun safety, how handguns work, gun and ammo selection and a whole lot more. From there, we took them out to dry fire and discussed some entry-level tactics.

School safety improves if school personnel are allowed to provide school security prior to the arrival of law enforcement officers. School boards in states like Texas, Utah, and Florida seek to stop events like Sandy Hook, Columbine, and the Parkland School Shooting with school resource officers and armed teachers. The Guardian program in Floridas has been promoted by Gov. Ron Desantis (R-Fla) and President Trump. Generally, Democrats oppose teacher training while Republicans favor the practice.

Later, GSL Defense Training attorney-instructors educated them about gun laws, self-defense law and Illinois’ complicated concealed carry act. Other lectures covered home and personal defense strategies, situational awareness and post-shooting interventions. Oh yes, and gun cleaning, too.

Armed Teachers Can Save Lives: Guns Save Life's Free Teacher CCW Class

Attendees went from the classroom to the range and back, keeping them awake, alert, and drinking from a firehose of knowledge at every stop.

Armed Teachers Can Save Lives: Guns Save Life's Free Teacher CCW Class

Instructors patiently worked with the new shooters, and refined the skill sets of those who had brought their own guns.

Armed Teachers Can Save Lives: Guns Save Life's Free Teacher CCW Class

By the second day, participants and instructors alike witnessed a huge change from just a day before. The transformation proved obvious to all.

Armed Teachers Can Save Lives: Guns Save Life's Free Teacher CCW Class

Not only did students lose their fear of an inanimate object, they gained a sense of empowerment.

Armed Teachers Can Save Lives: Guns Save Life's Free Teacher CCW Class

We even brought in local Circuit Court Judge Randy Rosenbaum to discuss the real-world application of the law and to take questions. From there, they headed back outside to engage discrimination targets, employing their new skill sets.

Armed Teachers Can Save Lives: Guns Save Life's Free Teacher CCW Class

Armed Teachers Can Save Lives: Guns Save Life's Free Teacher CCW Class

Of course, the dreaded qualification came late Sunday.

Armed Teachers Can Save Lives: Guns Save Life's Free Teacher CCW Class

All passed with flying colors. In fact, a majority scored a perfect 30 out of 30. Even the English teacher who had never pulled a trigger before.

Armed Teachers Can Save Lives: Guns Save Life's Free Teacher CCW Class

Danielle, another first-time shooter pictured above, aced the qualification.

So what did these mostly non-gun owners think of their experience shooting? As class wound down, a teacher stood up to say, “I’ve taught for 26 years now and this is easily, by far the best teacher appreciation gift I’ve ever received!” The others applauded in agreement.

From a few of the evaluations:

Please tell us something we did well:  “Wow!  Everything!  …All off the instructors are fantastic teachers.  I have acquired new skills and confidence.  I now know that I can protect myself and my family!”

“This was an outstanding class with knowledgeable and patient instructors and staff.  Thanks for the teacher training.”

“The number of trainers out on the range shooting portions was very helpful and reassuring for inexperienced shooters.  The class was also enjoyable and engaging.  Great course!  Very helpful and I really appreciate all of you volunteering to host us!”

Please tell us something we did well: “You took away the intimidation factor!  Friendly, relaxed atmosphere yet stressed the importance of safety and proper handling techniques.  Overall awesome experience.  Thank you!”

“Best weekend I’ve had in a long time.”

Please tell us something we did well:  “Making me feel comfortable with my mistakes, but also making it safe.  The one-on.  -one attention and critique was helpful in correcting my errors.  Also, the fun atmosphere was AWESOME!”

“Instructors were excellent!  Always friendly and helpful.  I wish my bootcamp was so helpful and professional!  Great learning environment.  …Explanation and demonstration was awesome.”

How do you feel this course could be improved:  “I wish we could have had more range time, especially the simulated pressure (yelling at us, etc.)”

We only fired 250 rounds…

“…Seriously – the BEST instructors that put you at ease.  Fantastic course!”

“After this weekend, I feel much more comfortable with handguns and the laws about them.”

“Good balance between times of educational and experiential learning.  It might be improved by taking another day or two to cover the material…  Great instructors and a great overall experience.”

Shannon Watts, Gabby Giffords and the like depend on people who are unfamiliar with and afraid of guns. Gun control in general depends on fear and misinformation.

Armed Teachers Can Save Lives: Guns Save Life's Free Teacher CCW Class

This weekend, we took the mystery out of guns for these roughly three dozen teachers. What’s more, we expect they will share their positive experience with their friends, family and fellow school staff members. And they’re now better equipped to protect their students.

All of which stands as more bad news for those who would like nothing more than to strip Americans of their gun rights.


John Boch is executive director of Guns Save Life

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  1. Yes, knowledge prevents doubt, and doubt kills more good guys than any bad Joes’ knife or firearm ever did. Bravo & welcome to all of you.

  2. This deplorable approves! Wow, nice job.

    You know, I don’t see those smiles or that sort of empowered determination at Shannon Watts events!

    Guns Save Life: Gun Rights heroes everyday.

  3. I’ve done a lot of firearms instruction for both LEO’ and civilians. Never have I seen the almost one on one ratio before. I love it. We need to see a lot more of this type of instruction in the near future all across the country.

  4. A more practical solution is to teach teachers that quick aggressive actions win the day whether armed or not.
    Exhibit 1:
    Indiana school teacher who tackled gunman:

    Anyone who has done Simunitions training knows that a concerted attack where people throw things at the shooter breaks the shooters focus and gives someone time to tackle the shooter.
    Mindset wins every time!

    • According to the news story, the teacher was a defensive end on the football team while he was in college. Size and strength matter when you don’t have a gun. I doubt that a 5 foot, 100 pound defender would have been as successful.

    • Teachers should be able to be armed, just as all of us should be able to be armed, to defend ourselves, just in case. Or because we want to. But good training is a great thing, especially if it teaches good practices, confidence, etc.

      Many of the spree killers in recent scenarios weren’t looking for a fight, preferring to execute their cowering or fleeing victims, so any kind of confrontation or resistance will slow them down, or cause them to off themselves, or surrender. And a gun would be the most effective tool to fight back.

  5. It’s a good start in a state that really needs to work its way out of the anti-liberty gutter. Congrats to GSL and the teachers who participated. I taught for 40 years and would’ve had no problem carrying on campus…

  6. I had the honor of being one of the instructors for this event.
    It was an absolute joy to work with these students, to bring many of them from zero to a real skill set in 16 hours. If they never carry a gun in school or out, they are far more competent and informed about firearms as defense tools.

    As for GSL Defense Training, all our classes are staffed that deep, and all that fun. Consider yourself invited!

  7. I was also one of the instructors at this class. The teachers and school staff members were a great group to work with. All were open to suggestions and eager to learn. Very rewarding to work with such a group.

  8. lots of eager “students” there…who says teachers aren’t interested in doing this…suspect there are a lot more out there across the country…

  9. You really have to pin the politicians down with hypotheticals, which they hate and will avoid at all costs, but if you can, they always….ALWAYS… recognize that armed teachers with guns is better than unarmed teachers with erasers and sharpees.

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