Friday's mass shooting in a Newtown, CT, elementary school prompted many discussions this weekend regarding whether school staffs now should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon (CCW).
Greg and Loni Pugh teach firearms handling and safety every day from their privately owned and operated business called St. Louis CCW. Their facility and shooting range is located near Lonedell, about 39 miles west of Eureka.
"I believe we saw the answer on Friday. They give people who are intent to do harm a government guarantee that they will be the only ones with a gun in our schools," said Greg.
"Then government officials pretend to be surprised when things like this happen. Government representatives need to stand up and say from this day forward, CCW is authorized for any qualified principal, teacher or janitor."
Greg, who has taught firearms classes for the past 30 years, including to law enforcement officers and highway troopers, said he spent 14 years lobbying about CCW in Jefferson City.
He said lack of security in public and private schools was one of the reasons he and his wife chose to home-school their children until they reach high school age.
"My opinion is that teachers are put in charge of helpless kids, but they are given no means to really do that when something like an intruder shooting happens. Not every person should carry (CCW), but if a teacher chooses to take on that responsibility and takes it to heart, those who are willing and certified, should be allowed to defend themselves and the children," said Loni.
Loni, who frequently works with women at their facility regarding how to get comfortable with CCW and how to stand with a gun, said it always made her nervous to get automatically buzzed in to schools. "It just seems like school staffs can't see who is coming in, and that there is no security there. No one even asks why you are there. School safety includes dealing with so many variables."
Research Behind the Pughs' Approach
Greg said last April he studied with Dave Grossman, an American author who has specialized in the study of the psychology of killing—which has been termed 'killology'. The Mascoutah, IL, resident is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. According to Grossman's biography, he is a member of the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security as well as the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute. He speaks internationally about human aggression and the roots of violence and violent crime.
"Grossman said many eye-opening things," said Greg, who attended the same class as St. Louis County Police Department officers.
Grossman, as Greg recalls, said there are two steps that every school should take: have a single point of entry and give teachers dead-bolt doors that can be locked from the inside of classrooms.
"He said every teacher who props a school door open for any reason should automatically be fired," said Greg.
"And that it's a proven fact, those who go into lock-down mode in classrooms and stay there, are not as likely to get shot."
Greg said the problem is that U.S. culture has taught us guns are bad, which is only partially true. "Guns are only as bad as the bad people who have them."
Moving Forward with School Safety
Under CCW in Missouri, qualified people are allowed to have guns in their vehicles. Greg said he knew of one case during which a school principal with a CCW license ran to his vehicle to get his gun and eventually shut down a situation that was about to result in children getting killed from an intruder.
"It's such common sense to allow qualified and licensed gun users to have them in places such as schools and hospitals. We are trusting people with our children and with our lives for medical needs, but won't trust them in this other area; it doesn't make real sense," said Greg.
He said he believes one of the main reasons there are so many school shootings is that society has "put it out there that no one at an elementary school will be carrying a gun."
Greg said a faction of politicians prompted a no-gun policy, and that they need to own the consequences. "Politicians have invited these bad people into our schools. It's time those politicians own the results."
"Gun free zones only work for good people, because bad people don't obey those rules," he said.