In Utah, nearly 200 teachers came out to receive free firearm training. In Ohio, a pilot program to teach teachers how to use guns is at capacity. And in Arizona, the attorney general has outlined plan to arm school principals as the less "extreme" option. Even before new legislation is considered on the state or federal level in the wake of the Newtown school shooting, educators across the country are learning how to shoot — for real, and right now.
The National Rifle Association's plan to put armed guards in every school is one thing. Pundit suggestions to "gang rush mass shooters" and look for "huskier 12-year-old boys" are another story altogether. But when gun activists who say armed teachers can make a difference are luring hundreds of willing participants to an indoor sports complex, as Reuters reports they did late Thursday, well, you can start to see why a majority of people in this country still view the NRA favorably.
The apparent post-Newtown craze for gun-rights activists to transform teachers into gun-class students has arrived despite the fact that no armed civilian has killed a mass shooter in the past three decades. "Not one of 62 mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years has been stopped this way [by an armed civilian]," reported Mother Jones's Mark Follman, adding that the majority of mass shooters killed themselves: "More broadly, attempts by armed civilians to intervene in shooting rampages are rare—and are successful even more rarely. (Two people who tried it in recent years were gravely wounded or killed.)" The NRA's Wayne LaPierre has repeatedly suggested since Newtown that the armed guard at Columbine High School was not prepared to do enough to stop the shooting there — a claim that has been largely debunked. Several experiments have shown that average civilians do not perform well with minimal firearm training.
Gun rights activists are hoping to reverse history, however, with free training sessions that are expected to continue. Thursday's event in Salt Lake City was organized by the Utah Shooting Sports Council, an advocacy group witha slapdash website that uses language like "Gun Control zealots," references Nazi Germany ("Various schemes to establish de facto gun registration lists have been implemented in Nazi Germany"), and proclaims that "Gun Control is a FAILURE":
Nevertheless, there was the group on Thursday, holding hands — and guns — with teachers like this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And there were these teachers, too, sitting in gun class:
Meanwhile, in Ohio, the most popular firearms class is being run by Buckeye Firearms Association, a self-described political action committee that works "to elect pro-gun candidates and lobby for pro-gun legislation," according to the group's website. This was their Christmas message, and the image just seems a little, well, off — if you're considering what happened exactly two weeks ago in Newtown.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.