Colorado school teachers learn to use guns for self defense

World Today

In the United States, gun rights advocates argue that mass shootings, like the one in Las Vegas, mean people need to arm themselves.

A number of Americans, including teachers, have taken classes to learn how to use guns in self-defense. CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports.

In Greeley, Colorado, 17 paper targets were positioned so school employees can learn firearms skills.

“We’re training them for a very narrow mission, just to respond to an active killer,” explained Chris Wallace, a gun instructor.

Chris Wallace is with Tactical Defense Institute, a company that runs intensive training programs that, among other things, teach educators who own guns how to use them, if necessary, at school.

“They’re actually volunteering to step up and basically risk their lives to save the lives of their students if there’s an attack,” added Wallace.

A number of U.S. states allow school personnel to carry concealed weapons on school grounds, if their school districts sign off. Ronnie Wilson was among those being trained how to handle and fire his weapon, and learning about legal issues and proper medical response, all part of earning a course completion certificate. “I would say that 100 percent of parents who have their child at a school would want to know that there is a crisis management plan in place,” said Wilson, School Board President at Liberty Tree Academy.

To qualify, students were tested in 10 different scenarios. Different distances from the target, various numbers of rounds fired, as well as time to shoot.

Jimmy Graham’s students learned many of the same skills. The former U.S. Navy SEAL runs a six to eight-month progressive self-defense training program. “I tell people in my classes, you don’t get to pick your conflict. You don’t get to pick your challenge. If you’re sitting there watching a movie and this happens right now, then you have a choice to make. Do I engage or do I run? That fight or flight thing. But if you know how to do neither, they’re not going to go well,” said Graham.

Graham also said there’s been more interest in his program since the events in Las Vegas, only the latest mass shooting incident in the U.S. “It’s getting to a point where this is happening so much. We’re going to have to start looking out for one another again,” warned Graham.

Just this week, two 13-year-old Colorado students were arrested after police said they drew up a “kill list” of school staff and students. Armed teachers, the organizers of this course said, could save lives if an intruder with a weapon burst into a school.

That’s a conclusion, though, that most gun control advocates would disagree with. People like Tom Mauser, who lost his son during the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. He said that the chance of a lightly trained person being able to respond to an active shooter is really very small. “Is this what it’s come to in America that we’re arming our teachers, the people we expect to educate our students are now going to be armed? Has it really come to that?,” Mauser asked.