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I recently came across a dumb conversation on Twitter that can actually be a little instructive. Instead of going straight to answering the question of how much training a teacher needs to be able to safely carry to defend children, I’m instead going to shoot down the assumptions that lead to thinking teachers need dozens or hundreds (or even thousands) of hours of training.

Bad Assumption #1: Cops Receive Thousands Of Hours Of Excellent Training

Here’s the thing: looking at the overall hours police spend going through an academy and then continuing education is a great way to lead yourself astray on this question. Out of 1,000 hours (assuming it’s even that many), a police cadet has to spend time on dozens of different topics. Much of it is completely useless to a teacher or anyone else carrying a gun for self-defense. A few of the topics include evidence handling, police procedures, emergency vehicle operation, fingerprinting, the laws relating to arrest and detainment, crowd control, directing traffic, FEMA ICS/NIMS courses, hand-to-hand defensive tactics, the use of tasers and OC spray, handcuffing, traffic violations, felony stops–I think you get the point!

The fact is, everything you’ve ever seen a police officer do and dozens of other things you don’t see them do all take up time in an academy and in continuing education. If a cadet is lucky, there will be maybe 100 hours of firearms instruction, but much of that is learning about use of force laws, so the actual amount of gun handling instruction will be far, far less. I went through a volunteer police academy where we spent exactly two weekends on the range, and it took me years to fix the bad habits I had picked up in that academy.

There’s more evidence of this, though. Remember the “only one” guy? Yeah, he was a “highly trained” federal agent! Ask anyone working at a gun shop or at a range who some of the most unsafe shooters are, and police officers WILL be on that list, and likely at the top. Talk to the best-trained police officers who go out and shoot competitions, and they’ll tell you that the average cop just isn’t very skilled with a firearm.

I don’t mean to trash on cops here, but anyone being honest about law enforcement training will tell you that police training simply isn’t a good benchmark.

Bad Assumption #2: Blood Will Run In The Streets

Like all anti-gun arguments, the idea that teachers can’t safely carry a gun without “only one” level training is pure garbage.

In fact, I can tell you about a place where teachers carry on just four hours of required training. Surely such a place would be littered with the bodies of deceased children, teachers, and janitors, right? I mean, some goober with 4 hours of training and NO LIVE FIRE INSTRUCTION REQUIRED would certainly be a menace to society, and belongs nowhere near schools.

But, this is how things are in the entire state of Utah. Anybody with the easy to get permit, teacher or not, can carry in any school in the state. I’m sure someone can point to a few isolated incidents where something bad happened, but it’s certainly not the norm or even common. Such things happen at school in other states when people carry unlawfully, after all.

But, more importantly, Utah has never had a mass shooter in a school. The reasons for this probably extend far beyond the question of whether teachers are allowed to carry, but at the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding. If a whole state’s worth of teachers are allowed to carry on almost zero training without something terrible happening, the argument against letting teachers carry in other states is utterly without merit.

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  1. 1. Anyone who carries should attend a course like Gunsite’s 250 Defensive Pistol (1 week in duration, ~1200 rounds). Owning a piano does not make one a pianist.

    2. I was sitting next to a copy on last week’s flight home. He said their a typical shooting budget for training + re-qualification is 100 rounds…annually.

    • Organized dry fire practice is free. I found this example from a Navy Seal 8 years ago. It reminds me of the Army dry fire practice I did while on active duty.

      Safety tip.
      Make sure your gun is unloaded. And get snap caps as dummy rounds for dry fire practice reloading.

      video 8 min long.

  2. At a minimum NONE. Utah has had teacher & staff concealed carry since 1990’s with NO problems and no school shootings. Districts may not even ask if you are carrying. Well, ok, one kindergarten teacher negligently shot a toilet.
    I do not include police training injuries (they are experts you know).

    • I think will say because no one else will. The Mormon religion promotes discipline. And it doesn’t matter just how strong the individual belief is. A life with religious discipline has fewer accidents of all kinds.

      It’s quite a safety record for tens of thousands of teachers. With guns. And Only one ND in over 20 years. How many cops in California have had an ND in 20 years?

      I’m not a Mormon.

  3. My sister is a teacher. I wouldn’t trust her with a fly swatter. I was a LE firearms instructor for 25 years. I can count the number of serious violations I saw on one hand with fingers left over. First was a reserve deputy. I was standing behind him when the line finished a drill. The command was, “Make safe and holster.” Which everyone did. Except this nit wit. He’s standing there with a cocked and unlocked 1911 with his finger on the trigger. I call him by name and repeated the command. He says, “Huh?” as he turns to face me and muzzled the line to his left. I threw him off the range. He resigned not long after. The second was when I caught a C.O. about to holster her DA/SA Smith with the hammer cocked and finger on the trigger. I think she was embarrassed when I screamed at her at the top of my lungs, but she didn’t shoot herself in the leg. Anyway, in 25 years that was it. Don’t misunderstand, that was two incidents too many. Even though no one was injured. In fact, to my knowledge, there has never been an unintentional shooting at the academy. It’s been up and running since the early seventies.

    • 1 How seriously does your region treat and teach firearm safety in and out of the academy?

      2 How does it compare to other regions?

      You may guess at how many issues I have seen/heard of at probably just a quarter of work years involved in the topic.

      • I suspect the more rural areas of the country still have ROTC. As well as Future Farmers of America. And others that promote firearms education.

        The major cities not so much.

  4. Back in the day, I went to the range once a week and shoot 50 rounds during lunch.
    One day, I showed up and the range was full. I asked the GM what was up? He said the local PD officers annual qualification was next week. This was the only time he sees them at the range.
    He said I shot more than they do.

  5. I always liked the “heated exchange” and “chilling effect” arguments.

    Because they assume teachers are irrational, quick to anger homicidal psychopaths that for some reason can be trusted with your kids but for the presence of a firearm and that classrooms are a safe place for open dialog and unpopular opinions in conversation but for the presence of a firearm.

    To make either argument is to assume a demonstrably false reality and/or to admit the public school system is a complete joke and potentially dangerous to your children.

    Reason is always late to the party. Only now after a decade of defending anything goes are some people on the left waking up to the reality of institutional grooming (which is super odd since they always love to bring up the Catholic church and Scouts) and maybe constantly hammering children with indoctrination could have some damaging costs associated with it. Conveniently forgetting they called anyone bringing this up a racist or whatever-phobe.

    Ideological delusions are strong and when everything is partisan the only justification you need to believe the lie is that the other side doesn’t.

    • Silly logic user, grooming only matters if the organization at large tends to make people less dependent and controllable by the government.

  6. SAFE, pretty damn seriously. One of my best friends is a retired FDLE agent. He was also their lead firearms instructor. After FDLE he took over all the high liability disciplines. Firearms, driving, medical and defensive tactics. He’s retired again, but they call him back occasionally. He ran a tight ship. Still does. He was bored and went back to work at the federal courthouse. He’s now their FA instructor. They qualify on an indoor range in the basement though, not the academy. He has never had an incident with injury on one of his ranges.

      • former, we did. Until middle/highschool. Then it was private Christian school. The home school materials came from a Christian organization also. Both are gainfully employed. Pay their bills. They don’t bitch and whine about what they’re entitled to. You know, they’re citizens.

        • Cool! My granddaughter’s & my nieces & nephews are all homeschooled. My younger son’s are 31 & 28. They turned out great but their public school was still ok then. Rapidly going to he!!

        • Possum, Katherine and John are not fish. Lol. Be careful. I might send John to Kansas. He’s likely to show up with an ’03A3 and a 1911 and a bottle of bourbon. I’m not sure if that would turn into a gunfight, or a party.

    • I noticed you didn’t answer part 2, to fill in for my current area and where I grew up: rarely any experience or training outside of state required minimums and slightly better if your family was into hunting respectively. So almost entirely depends on the discipline and good sense of the individual to learn. I probably saw more issues in 1 year than you will for your entire life in your region.

        • One is allowed to speculate and make educated guesses beyond their region with out people jumping their shit but I do get the reluctance.

        • Gadsden Flag.
          Pretty sure itd wind up a party.
          We might both wind up in jail but it’d be a party.🙂

      • SAFE here is the Answer for NYS. No teacher is allowed to carry his/her firearm in a school, classroom, etc. They can obtain a Pistol Permit but are NOT allowed to carry while working in a classroom.

        • More a general background knowledge and experience with firearms for the population question Walt not what can teachers do (obviously nothing legally unless leosa applies) agree with your comment below on “standards” involved for LEO but unions tend to have a lot to say there even if we could get the budget for more training.

  7. Oh, about teachers. Don’t misunderstand the comment about my sister. She believes in global warming, too. I remember my 8th grade science teacher looking over the Remington ballistic charts at his desk. He was trying to decide what caliber he wanted for his new rifle. He turned it into class material for a couple of days. Trajectory, energy, etc. My shop teacher, I took electronics, was a Korean War Veteran. His classes were always interesting.

    • Noticed Florida was looking to hire vets as teachers a few years ago. Was on the list of options if NY went full concentration camp during COVID and will have to keep an eye on it in case it is needed for similar reasons with some of our “new american” issues pending.

  8. With the never ending Gun Violence drumbeat most every kid and their teachers are programed to lookout for Guns. The fixation on guns opens the door for example a perp with a knife who can simply stroll around and cut throats like oj or the perp in Australia, etc. IMO one of the first steps for milquetoast teachers who desire to be armed is undo the Gun Violence brainwashing and understand Violence is Violence.

  9. My concern would be how the current permissive culture allows students to attack teachers wiht little to no consequences. Will teachers be allowed to defend themself from a student that tries to take the firearm?

    • Every human that carries a gun for self defense has a duty to the concept of self defense. The age of either party means nothing.

      What about the student that gets attacked by a teacher?

      Why would a human just sit there and allow another human be brutally harmed or killed based on nothing more than the age of the attacker? Does this change if we are talking about a 20 year old student and a 40 year old teacher? What if the teacher were 20? How about if it’s at the teachers home at 2:00am after the student broke in?

      No. The problem is the “permissive culture”. People (of any age) that are completely allowed to all manner of mischief and criminal activity without consequences.

    • Teachers, like anyone else, should not be expected to ask for permission to protect themselves.
      Students should pay the consequences for any attack. Teachers who carry should not use deadly force except as a last resort as in any scenario.

  10. After Sandy Hook a school district in Ohio decided to arm teachers and staff. The county sheriff agreed and helprd them with the program and to find qualified instructors. The volunteers went through some psychological testing and training. They are required to train one weekend a month either target practice or situational training and fire approximately 500 rounds a year in training. Sheriff said he would put their teacher training up against any police force in the country.

    • Not the DC Metro police.
      Even the ATF are afraid of them. They’ll shoot dogs and kids and Mommies holding babies and religious cult fanatics and air traffic controllers in Arkansas but they won’t go after the DC Metro Police.

  11. The question itself is without meaning. What the police do is not relevant and neither are the events of various school shootings.

    Teachers are human beings just like everyone else. The more training a person can get with guns, the better. REGARDLESS! This entire thing is completely ridiculous. Any and every teacher that wants to arm themselves (just like everyone else) should be allowed to.

    The problem is about teachers being disarmed. THAT is what needs to change. The issue we should be discussing is the ‘gun free school zones’.

    • Prndll makes precisely the point that needs discussed – making a systemic decision based on emotion and political positioning, for grown adults, that being armed equals not just losing their jobs but potentially landing them in prison is the problem. This is yet another of the leftist/statist/fascist intentionally created problems designed to divide people, create chaos and further a political agenda. A ‘problem’ – surprise, surprise! – solved by not restricting the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people to bear arms as they see fit. Drop the restrictions and a certain percentage of any group will choose to carry a firearm to protect themselves and the people they’re responsible for. And just like in the places where the carrying of firearms is (relatively) unrestricted watch the number of violent incidents against innocent children drop to near zero. Teachers are by law considered in loco parentis – why are they denied the most useful hand-tool humans ever invented to counter deadly physical force to protect their students and themselves? We already know why and it has absolutely nothing to do with “protecting the children”.

    • Edited to add special characters to, hopefully, avoid my comment’s time in moderation purgatory…lets see if I guessed correctly…

      Prndll makes precisely the point that needs discussed – making a systemic decision based on emotion and political positioning, for grown adults, that being armed equals not just losing their jobs but potentially landing them in prison is the problem. This is yet another of the l3ftist/st@tist/f@$cist intentionally created problems designed to divide people, create chaos and further a political agenda. A ‘problem’ – surprise, surprise! – solved by not restricting the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people to bear arms as they see fit. Drop the restrictions and a certain percentage of any group will choose to carry a firearm to protect themselves and the people they’re responsible for. And just like in the places where the carrying of firearms is (relatively) unrestricted watch the number of violent incidents against innocent children drop to near zero. Teachers are by law considered in loco parentis – why are they denied the most useful hand-tool humans ever invented to counter deadly physical force to protect their students and themselves? We already know why and it has absolutely nothing to do with “protecting the children”.

  12. They should be able to shoot an eraser out of the hand of a student standing by the pencil sharpener.

    • If you do not have the confidence to do that you need more practice.
      Think about it.
      SHit has hit the fan, gunm shots, disorganization, you must have the confidence to be able to preform under stress.
      BTW, I shot a cigarette out of a friends mouth without killing him.

  13. The same as anyone else who carries with one extra rule: Don’t shoot anyone under 5′ tall… unless they’re an evil midget.

  14. at most NYPD recruits have 60 hours of classroom training, NYS Troopers slightly more in firearms and then another 20 hours of range time. the NYPD training consists of 4-8 cadet recruits training together during the firearms scenario live fire drills (so even then some of the cadets aren’t even getting a chance to try the live fire drills).

    Nearly all of LEA’s post there training/academy agendas online so everyone can see what typical training occurs during the academy for cadets.

    the Rand Corp, was hired in the early 2000’s to evaluate NYPD training, and found that it was lacking (almost all non-law enforcement persons have far better training). and the NYPD is one of few LEA’s with more training (most likely because they have the lowest rate of cadets to have ever seen a real firearm before becoming police officers, thanks to all of NY’s & NYC’s unconstitutional firearms laws)

  15. Are public school teachers LESS likely to have the discipline to carry a gun?

    Are rural school staff MORE likely to have the self-control and discipline necessary to carry everyday???

    I think the big city staffs will have discipline problems. And need more training. Compared to the more rural districts.

  16. “How Much Training Do Teachers Really Need To Carry?”

    One local class to start with. With more later. And they can be just local instructors. Not everyone can afford to attend Thunder Ranch.

    They don’t have to attend an expensive school. Frankly only the wealthy will attend these schools.
    Or the government pays. Or you save up your $$$.

  17. It’s pretty simple, I can’t tell the squirrels, birds, deer, etc in my yard they can’t defend themselves and nor can anyone tell me I can’t defend myself, wherever I am!

    • I saw a red tailed hawk slam a squirrel one day. I’d often wondered if hawks caught squirrels.
      They do.

  18. Most successful Self defense gun uses were never formally trained. We are lucky in the 21st century. We have over ten years of YouTube videos, to get a good idea of what to correctly do.

    Yes formal training is always better. But the 2A education in the public schools, was unfortunately destroyed decades ago.

    • Training /= discipline but the two often coexist even though they can be wholly independent of each other.

  19. So, do we accept the fact that training is required to exercise a civil right?

    How much training for freedom of speech? Voting?

  20. The requirements just passed in Iowa for teachers, administrators and staff. Those who want to carry firearms in schools will be required to go through a permit process that includes one-time, in-person legal training covering qualified immunity, emergency medical training and communication training, as well as quarterly firearm training and annual “live scenario” training. For the most part those individuals wanting to carry on school property will most likely already have been carrying off campus already.

  21. I am a retired public school teacher. I was also a veteran (assuming the USN counts with you). I have to admit, I would greatly benefit by more training than I already have. However, it would not be to improve my safe handling of firearms. I am nearly OCD about that. It would be to improve my aim and tactics. I would have carried in my classroom, if allowed, because I would have defended my students (even the shi**y ones) with my life. Take that for whatever it’s worth.

    • Aim is improved by adding a stock to a pistol.
      Cant have that?
      Perhaps to futher improve things .giv should pass a law that sights on a handgunm are illegal.

  22. An argument based on logic is going to be difficult in a room full of people arguing emotion.

    I’ll ignore that and directly address the points, which IMHO, are directly linked together:


    The real question here is what level of capacity do you want and from whom?

    Cops, LE… whatever, not having a lot of accidents or other serious incidents isn’t really much of a data point. Managing to not cut off part of your hand with a circular saw doesn’t make you a master carpenter. It just makes you smart enough not to stick your hand in front of the slicey bit.

    While the “untrained” argument makes little sense because untrained people regularly manage to avoid disaster and training level has NOTHING to do with emotional regulation required to not fly off the handle, the “trained” argument requires a touch of nuance.

    Trained to what level? On par or better than a beat cop or do you want DevGru or Delta on a hostage rescue level performance? Somewhere in the middle?

    “Trained to what standard?” is the key here and that would require agreeing to some sort of standard that’s both possible and makes sense. From that an assessment system could be built.

    At some point, and I’m fairly confident it’s not way off on the DevGru side of things, “good enough” is actually good enough.


    I’ll go back to the circular saw again. I can, and do, use a lot of wood (and electrical and other) tools. Building a building ain’t really that hard unless you’re reworking someone else’s mess, which can be challenging but again, really isn’t that difficult. It’s really one of those things that just kinda makes you doubt the future of the species.

    That doesn’t mean I can craft you a really nice set of custom cabinets.

    The fact that, just today, I ran a circ saw, miter saw, jig saw, scroll saw, two different nailers, impact gun, drill, hole saws, sawzall, oscillating multi tool and pulled a bunch of wire while managing to resquare and replumb a bunch of someone else’s trash work and bring the wiring up to code, make it look good and do this without hurting myself still doesn’t mean I can make those cabinets.

    Which brings us back to Point #1. What level are you looking for here and by what standards shall achievement of that level be measured?

    Once all of that is completed then it needs to be considered how you will deal with dishonest brokers in this public conversation.

  23. “MNPD officers get 1000 hours of training on law enforcement and have 40 hours of continuing training requirements per year. I trust them a lot more than I do a teacher in that situation.

    — Neil Kornutick (@nkornutick) April 11, 2024”

    Neil Kornutick is evidently not living in reality and is ignorant.

    First, their “MNPD officer” is not going to be there when it happens. The police response is not ‘immediate’, it takes several minutes or more for them to even arrive.

    Second, during that time it takes for police to arrive the mentally ill killer is going to have free reign and target zone dominance. That’s a lot of potential victims.

    Third, as shown in Uvalde and other incidents, the victims killed or injured are never saved from that death or injury by waiting for police to arrive. A 911 phone call is not some magical thing that keeps these victims from being killed and injured.

    Fourth, as shown in Uvalde and other incidents, once the mentally ill killer gains target area dominance there is nothing to stop them until police finally arrive several minutes (or longer) and then act to stop the mentally ill killer.

    Fifth, Neil Kornutick would trust kids with a teacher but would not trust those teachers to defend the kids against a mentally ill killer? That sort of ignorance only causes more death and injury. The school staff are the ones on scene when the mentally ill killer appears and are the best and most immediate chance of survival for those kids, not the police who are still up to several minutes away from when they arrive with their guns.

    Sixth … Neil Kornutick, do you know why police brings guns to such incidents? Its because they know the truth and that truth is that a firearm is is the only known means that has the best chance of stopping such mentally ill killers. Yet here you are wanting to deny those kids that same only known means that has the best chance of stopping such mentally ill killers, by firearm usage by those who are already on scene, the (trained in this case) school staff, before police can arrive.

    Seventh, ordinary armed citizens stop hundreds of would be active shooters every year in many different situations ranging from robberies to potentially mass-shootings and most of them are stopped before the bad guy fires a shot.

    You, Neil Kornutick are one of the very reasons there are more death and injury in school shootings – maybe not intentionally and maybe so, but one thing is for sure you are ignorant of the reality.

    • I trust PD people not to be there in time

  24. Utah teacher here, I’ve been carrying my Colt Mustang to work every day since 2017.

    I really wish there was more training available for teachers who decide to carry. I felt undertrained until my school hired two retired SWAT guys as teachers. Now we get together a few times a year and I get to train with them and I finally feel like I could be of some help if things go bad.

    • “… and I finally feel like I could be of some help if things go bad.”

      This may be the crux of the argument: are they to be “Offensive” or “Defensive” participants.

      Teachers are not expected to “go help” take down a school shooter, that is, they aren’t going on the OFFENSIVE (as implied by Steve’s comment above). The role of an armed teacher is to become a DEFENSIVE WALL between the intruder to the teacher’s area and to protect the kids under their control.

  25. Not sure there is such a thing as “too much” training. I’ve been shooting regularly for over 45 years, and I STILL take regular training courses, all the time. And practice what I learn. My only observation is that the government is the last body I would trust to specify what that training should be.

    I’m all for encouraging training among teachers who choose to carry – I think it’s a great idea. So, how about we give them a tax deduction, or even a direct stipend, for training? Training is never a bad thing, but “mandated” training is usually a sick joke.

  26. I am not an LE officer but due to my job responsibilities, I have done a lot of training with officers of various agencies. Greg Ellifritz whose website directed me here regularly criticizes the quantity and quality of police training. My experience with officers has led me to agree. About 15% are gun people who train and/or compete on their own. These guys are much better than me. (No one will ever mistake me for Dave Spaulding.) The other 85%, however, are only equal to or less well trained than me. I have also shot the POST qualification numerous times and it is much easier than the beginning class quals in private training. I have also had the experience of shooting a SWAT training exercise. The trainers were concerned that the course was too hard-low to no light, shoot/don’t shoot, multiple and turning targets, moving, reloads in the dark, shotgun +pistol so they got the college police chief and myself to shoot it first as a validation. We both qualified. None of the SWAT officers came close.

  27. You left out the part about the woke foot shooter suing DEA because the video got out. DEA settled, paid him big bucks, transferred him to his post of preference, and promoted him to a supervisory slot, shortly thereafter!
    Training protocols, in order to be worth a hoot, need to be adhered to, and supported by management. You no longer have that in DEA. Instead of focusing on life saving training, they are more focused on putting giant boom boxes, and huge flat screen tv’s in the weight room.
    As for the amount of, and level of training necessary for teachers to safely carry; Each teacher will be different. And while professionals will always strive for 100%, in reality, each teacher who decides to accept the responsibility must decide for themselves, what their requirements are. They should also realize that management won’t back them, won’t cover their “6”, and will throw them under the bus faster than the speed of heat! A bad guy will be able to read an armed teacher in a skinny minute. It’s predator vs prey. In order for a teacher to move out of the prey zone, and into the controlled predator/sheep dog zone requires a continued commitment. And about 200 rounds a month….that the schools won’t be providing. Also, at least four times a year, continuing education, refresher shooting courses…..which the school’s won’t be providing. Then, there’s the bottom line. Politicians believe that giving free stuff the invading criminal hords, in order to buy votes, is more important than student safety!

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