(NewsNation) — Mass shootings inside schools have taken the lives of hundreds of students and teachers in the United States over the past two decades, leaving the country searching for answers as to how to stop these tragedies from happening.
Democratic lawmakers have consistently called for gun control laws to be put in place to stop the shootings, while Republicans have recently pivoted, calling for the funding of mental health programs as a solution.
As politicians continue to feud and trade blame over who and what is responsible for school shootings, teachers like Jason Winder, of Utah, have decided to carry guns in their classrooms in case anything were to happen at their school.
“When it comes down to it, even if a school has a resource officer, if they’re in a different part of the school, different part of campus, it could be minutes before that resource officer shows up,” Winder said on WFXR’s sister station, NewsNation.
“That could be the difference, unfortunately, between a massive tragedy happening,” Winder said. “I just like having the opportunity to make that decision for myself and my students.”
States like Ohio and Florida have laws and programs in place that give teachers a decision whether or not to carry a gun in school. Ohio passed its law in the wake of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Texas that left 19 children and two teachers dead. Florida passed its law in 2019 after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Parkland that left 17 people dead.
Winder said he does not think all teachers should be armed, but he did say it’s a “tool” for teachers to use to protect their students.
“I don’t know anyone who is promoting arming all teachers; it should definitely be a choice,” Winder said. “I hope that teachers get to have the choice. In Utah, it’s a very Second Amendment-friendly state, and we get to have that choice.”
He added, “I don’t know that I personally would want to live with knowing that I could and not having the ability to protect my students when I can.”