In September, I attended the Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC) that is presented by the Second Amendment Foundation. This conference has been happening annually for 34 years. It’s a gathering of gun rights activists, media, and ordinary citizens who are interested in the latest in gun rights policies across the country.

In a short presentation to the GRPC attendees, I covered 3 important topics related to school safety —specifically the policy of armed school staff, which is on the increase across the country. As the Executive Director of FASTER Colorado, an organization that trains school staff who are authorized to be armed on their K-12 campus, I’m in a unique position to stay on top of the newest developments in armed staff policies, and to address the biggest misconceptions.

First, I talked about the difference between School Resource Officers (SROs) and armed school staff. We are big fans of the presence of SROs on K-12 campuses. As members of law enforcement, they act as a deterrent to various crimes, they are able to investigate crimes that might occur, and they develop good relationships between students and law enforcement. In the rare event of a school killing, one person on campus to stop an armed killer might not be enough. The killer either avoids the SRO so that he can kill as many innocents as he can, or he identifies the SRO as the first target. SROs are great, but they are not enough in the event of a deranged killer on campus. They need the backup that concealed-carry, anonymous school staff can provide.

Second, I talked about the research from my recent IWF op-ed, asking whether motive matters in preventing massacres. There is some recent research on the Adverse Childhood Experience score, or the ACE score. This research shows that traumatic childhood experiences that result in a high ACE score, such as physical and sexual abuse, or a child seeing his mother abused, is a factor most common in mass killers. The killer finds a motive, but the motive isn’t what turns him in to a killer.

Finally, I talked about what areas are growing in armed staff discussions, namely armed church security teams, and homeschool parents. There is now more church-related violence than school-related violence. Many armed school staff members do double duty as members of their church’s armed security team. Most homeshoolers have co-ops, or other enrichment programs that take place in public buildings or churches. In many cases, there are more than 200 homeschool kids in one building, who would be sitting ducks if a deranged killer wished them harm. At FASTER Colorado, we now allow members of armed church security teams, as well as home school parents, to apply for our classes.

See below for the complete presentation.