In a Wednesday meeting with seriously concerned citizens alarmed by the Parkland school massacre, Trump came up with a particularly thoughtless solution. Arm 20% of the teaching staff. Trump reasons that any armed teacher would immediately take down a heavily armed shooter. Let’s pretend for a moment that this is a serious proposal. In order to implement such a program, one must consider, among other things:
A. Equipment – who is paying for the firearms? The federal government? The local school district? The teacher?
B. Equipment – standardized weaponry-6 round Kel-Tek P3AT or 17 round Ruger SR9 Semi Auto Handguns? Federal regulation, State regulation or local school board rules?
C. Training – Federal standards? State standards? Local school board rules? Cross training with LEOs?
D. Licensure – Standard conceal carry permit? Deputization?
E. Rules of engagement—same as local peace officers?
F. Financial responsibility—personal liability or Federal “Really Good Samaritan” Law? School district liability? Local law enforcement? Bonding requirement?
G. Powers of arrest?
H. Will armed teachers receive hazardous duty pay?
I. State Workers Compensation coverage, including PTSD? If so, then actions taken to stop an attacker will arise out of and in the course of the teacher’s employment, subjecting the local school district to liability
J. Will a Federal Armed Teacher program bring a teacher under the Federal Employee Compensation Act? If so, then the teacher must be expressly exempted from §8102 (a)(2) which doesn’t cover injuries or death “caused by the employee’s intention to bring about the injury or death of … another.”
There is no reason to think that this proposal will ever be debated at any level. Trump has demonstrated that shooting one’s mouth off is much easier than shooting a heavily armed attacker, with a high probability of collateral damage.
Bruce C. Cohen is an attorney and the author of Missouri Defendant’s Procedural Warfare Manual. He also writes fiction as Charlie Kenmore and Ken Charles.