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Teachers, Guns, and the Great Lie

Written by Randomology on January 10, 2013.

This picture looks like proof of armed teachers preventing school shootings. In truth, it shows how STRICT gun regulation makes for a safer country.

If we’re going to have gun debate, and if we’re going to be adults, we need to get a few facts straight. Like I’ve said before, we’re entitled to our own opinions, but we’re not entitled to our own facts. If we do this and remember to respect each other, we should be fine.

With that in mind, we need to clear up a few “facts” about gun control.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen many on the pro-gun side posting pictures of Israeli teachers armed with rifles. You can see one such picture above. These individuals point to it and say it’s a beautiful thing to see a country determined and willing to protect its youth, that it shows our cowardice when we don’t arm our own teachers.

However, context matters. Yes, Israel doesn’t have school shootings like we do, and it’s easy to say that the armed teachers help. After all, Israel gave teachers guns and they haven’t had the kinds of mass shootings we have, right?

But let’s look at the facts for both Israel and the United States.

  • Israel has 7.3 firearms per 100 people
  • The US has 88.8 firearms per 100 people.
  • Israel has 1.96 firearm deaths per 100,000 people.
  • The US has 10.26 per 100,000.
  • Israel has a total of 0.83 homicides per 100,000 people.
  • The US has 5.86 homicides per 100,000 people for the same year.
  • Israel has 0.04 accidental gun deaths per 100,000 people.
  • The US 0.19 per 100,000 for the same year.
  • Israel requires that someone be 27 years old to own a firearm, or 21 if the individual has military service. In order to acquire a gun, a person must apply and give the specific reason the gun is required. The background checks include criminal and mental health evaluations. The authorities maintain records of everyone who possesses a firearm. On top of that, a gun owner must reapply for a license every three years.

It should also be noted that teachers in Israel who do choose to carry firearms almost always have a background in the Israeli Defense Forces, meaning they have military training. Contrast all these things with the US where anyone can walk into Wal-Mart and walk out with a shotgun and as much ammo to invade Fallujah. In Israel, civilians are limited to how much ammunition they may own, and there are even regulations on how that ammo can be stored.

So, to all who keep pointing to Israel as a haven where the population can be armed as they see fit and don’t suffer the kinds of shootings here, I’d like you to remember this.

They have MUCH stricter gun control than us. They didn’t eliminate their guns, but they require those who use them to be trained and regulated with periodic checks and, as such, have fewer guns per capita. This is the kind of thing most of us are trying to push. I don’t want guns eliminated entirely. Not by a mile, but I do acknowledge that they are weapons designed to kill. They are not tools. As such, they require training and constant attention.

In the US, while the number of guns has gone up, the number of gun owners has gone DOWN while the number of gun deaths has also slowly gone down. This doesn’t point to more guns making us safer. It points to less people owning guns making us safer.

Now then, if you’re going to keep pointing to the “Israeli model” as proof we need armed teachers, you should also be pointing out the strict background checks, training, and regulation mandated by the government and that said teachers previously worked as soldiers.

Like I said, context is everything.

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About

I am a writer, blogger, teacher, and would like to think I'm an educator. Language is my life, and I think the study and analysis on our words and statements is the key to understanding the world around us. Looking through the chaos of modern life can reveal surprising truths. This is why I created Randomology.org. Let's sift through the chaos.

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