In the weeks and months since the school shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas, the debate over whether teachers should be able to carry firearms in schools has received a great deal of attention. A number of states have allowed teachers to carry firearms in schools for years and provide some insight into how such programs work in practice and what motivates teachers who want to be armed.
In Colorado, local school districts have the authority to but are not required to allow teachers within their schools to carry firearms as part of the district's security plan. Teachers are never forced to carry a gun and those who want to carry are subject to additional background screenings, psychological screens, as well as emergency medical and firearms training, the details of which are decided on by their local school board. The Washington Free Beacon spoke with three teachers about their motivation as they completed FASTER Colorado's three-day specialized active shooter training program.
Michael, a middle school technology teacher who asked his last name not be disclosed because his school district does not reveal which teachers are allowed to carry guns, has been carrying in his school for three years. He said he had to wrestle with the decision to carry a gun at his school.
"It was actually a real, deep emotional time when they asked me," Michael told the Free Beacon. "It took me probably over six months to decide to because it's an intense thing, but the thing that ultimately decided is I want the kids to have a chance and I want to have a chance. If I'm going to throw myself out there anyways, I would like to have something to have a chance to shoot back. Did I ever want to? You know you never want to, but you want to be able to."