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Five Concerns About Armed Guards in Schools

Congress should "act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation." -Wayne LaPierre, CEO, National Rifle Association (NRA)

Shootings in our schools are tragic, and each of us has the urge to "do something," but I have major concerns about placing armed guards in our schools.

1 -- Armed Guards Not Likely to Prevent All Attacks -- It's difficult to find examples where armed guards prevented a mass shooting. For example, at the Columbine and Virginia Tech school shootings, there were armed guards, but they weren't able to prevent those tragedies. Remember: The shooter will pick the time and place of attack, and would surely attempt to avoid striking when (and the specific locations where) armed guards are patrolling.

2 -- Even if Armed Guards Are Present in All Schools and Completely Effective, the Cure Might be Worse than the Disease -- The U.S. has about 100,000 schools, so we're discussing on the order of 150,000 armed guards (some schools would be large enough to warrant several guards), for 75 million students, about 200 days a year. There would be lots of opportunities for deadly incidents: Armed guards misreading student behavior (e.g., a student mistakenly shot while playing with a toy gun); Student fights where a student grabs the guard's gun; A mass shooting scenario where students are killed in crossfire; or, a nightmare scenario where a psychotic guard massacres students.