Featured Opinion

Should Civilians Be Trained On Handguns To Defend Children In Schools? No!

The Right Side

By J Gary DiLaura

FBI Retired

There has been a lot of talk about putting “armed teachers” in schools to protect the Children. That is a very bad idea. The idea of armed guards in school ‘is” an excellent idea, but by professionals.

Do it right or not at all!

Who then? Retired police officers and military veterans are excellent choices! It also helps provide both self-respecting and needed, employment for vets looking for a decent job. They should all have been trained professionally to have been police or military.

Retired police could be anywhere from 40 and up and vets would be younger from maybe 25 and up, with 4-5 years in, and honorably discharged. The states should get involved and license the guards after providing refresher classes through police departments or some other official capacity.

Through my entire career with the FBI, I was a firearms instructor. That involved training FBI agents, police cadets at the academies, advanced firearms to become instructors, Instructor schools, SWAT, and sniper schools. All FBI firearms instructors teach all those venues. I also have testified in federal and state courts for law enforcement, as an expert firearms instructor.

This is my opinion based upon my 28 years in law enforcement.

It takes a great deal of training to become “professional” enough, to be trained enough, and equipped enough (mentally and physically) to protect someone as an “armed” guard, especially with a handgun. That is what an armed person in a school is being asked to do, let there be no doubt!

It takes many weeks of training on the law, when to “shoot or don’t shoot”, besides learning the safe handling of the weapon and gaining sufficient proficiency to shoot “and” to maintain possession of the gun! Did you know that if you get within the arms reach of someone with minimum disarming skills that we teach, you would not be able to pull the trigger before you lose control of the handgun! That’s a fact that I have proven to the biggest disbeliever in every school I taught! Remember an armed guard is bringing a gun into the situation, whether the bad guy has one or not, and if the armed guard loses it, the bad guy for sure is now armed! The now unarmed guard will be the first to be shot and the people around him are next.

To learn how to shoot in evening classes, at a range, is not even close to being good enough!  You should shoot, with supervision often to become proficient and learn your state laws as well, to protect yourself. To protect others is an entirely different story, with lots of liability that must be addressed. I don’t know who would teach civilians disarming techniques as part of a “firearms” class because when you teach firearms there’s a lot of liability that does along with it. Some martial arts classes teach some disarming as part of the martial arts, and good instruction is quite useful and works well with practice! As a NRA Instructor I carried liability insurance provided by the NRA and if you are an instructor and plan to teach, get insurance

Don’t get me wrong…I strongly support every American who wants to learn to shoot for protection. I’m also an NRA Firearms Instructor and New York State Hunter Safety Instructor (retired). I taught civilian, men, women and children gun and hunter safety, voluntarily for years, so I put my actions where I put my words.

Put professionally trained firearms people who are state certified in schools to protect your kids.

The best choice is to keep trouble “outside”. Schools have been told for years to keep the doors “locked” but ignore it! They have been told to put trouble makers in jail or schools with bars, they won’t do it. Look at the Parkland as a good example of doing neither. The problem was not the gun! The problem was unlocked doors and a kid with an unrecorded record of serious charges, sort of “off the record arrests”!

Do it right or not at all!


About the author

J. Gary DiLaura

J. Gary DiLaura

J. Gary Dilaura, a 28 year veteran of the FBI, spent his career in Charleston, SC, New York City, and Buffalo, NY. He was active in the FBI’s Violent Crimes Program, finishing his career as Bank Robbery Supervisor. He also worked White Collar Crime and some well known cases including the Oklahoma City Bombing & the Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon Bank Robbery. He holds a degree in Engineering, and established and ran the FBI’s Environmental Crimes Program for the Western District of NY. He received numerous Commendations from every FBI Director he worked for. After retiring from the FBI, he became a successful Construction Contractor/Businessman and a Conservative, OpEd Columnist, "The Right Side", for several publications including, the Niagara Falls Reporter and the Ft Myers, Sun bay Paper. Visit his website at therightsidejgarydilaura.com .

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