By Matt Schepeler
When Jim Warren, the owner and chief instructor at Warren Defense Firearm Training offered free training for area teachers, he was not sure how many local educators would sign up. It didn’t take long before he had a full class – about 20 people – that were eager to be taught.
“The class was pretty typical in that we had everything from experienced [gun users] to people who had never shot before.
“It was awesome. I loved it,” said Warren, who has been training local gun enthusiasts in concealed pistol license courses and advanced training for years.
The class taught the basics required to obtain a CPL permit, though teachers are not legally able to carry a gun in schools. Warren, an avid second amendment supporter, said he would like to see that law changed. “I fully support teachers being able to carry in the classroom,” he said, but quickly admitted that if a law were passed allowing the carrying of guns in schools, more specialized training would be needed. He said that he would not be comfortable seeing teachers carry in schools with the limited instruction they received in the recent class.
“This was the most basic level of training,” he said. “It is the tip of the iceberg. They would need further training to effectively defend their self or others.
“I would feel uncomfortable if my kids were around teachers [carrying] if that was all the training they had.”
Warren believes the best thing that could happen to improve the safety of students is “to remove that sign.”
“One of the biggest problems is when it says ‘Gun Free Zone,’” he said. “Eighty percent of all mass shootings happen in gun free zones. If we just got rid of that sign, it would solve a lot of problems.”
While changing laws takes time, Warren did congratulate Columbia officials for their recent decision to put police officers back in the buildings. “That is huge,” he said.
Warren is not under an illusion that arming teachers will solve all of the problems in the increasingly complicated world of school security. “There were multiple levels of failures in the recent [Florida] school shootings, from the school to the county sheriff to the FBI. There are mental health issues, where they are medicating kids, saying ‘there is a pill for that . . .’
“And, people need to be responsible and lock up their guns.”
The training took place at the Brooklyn Sportsman’s Club. Members of the Well Armed Women of Jackson County supplied lunch to the teachers.
“I really enjoyed it,” said Warren. “The class normally takes eight hours. We were there for about 10 with this group,” he said.
“Hey, they are teachers. They are a very intelligent group, and they had a lot of questions.”