Texas school shooting: Arm teachers to stop gunmen, official says
Arming more teachers could help tackle gunmen targeting students if there were “four to five guns to one”, a senior Texan official has said.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick was speaking two days after 10 people were killed at the Santa Fe High School, which had an armed guard.
He had previously said schools had “too many entrances and too many exits” and their design should be reconsidered.
The proposal to arm teachers is not a new idea.
After a 14 February school shooting in Florida, US President Donald Trump suggested giving teachers a bonus if they carried guns.
But he clarified via Twitter that “only the best 20% of teachers” – those with military backgrounds or special training – should be allowed guns.
Mr Patrick, a Republican, said the best way to stop a gunman was with a gun. “But even better than that is four to five guns to one,” he told CNN.
Hours earlier, the police chief of neighbouring Houston said he had hit “rock bottom” over failure to enact gun reforms. Chief Art Acevedo wrote on Facebook that he had “shed tears of sadness, pain and anger” over the shooting.
The shooting was the latest in a series of deadly incidents across the US that have reignited debate about gun control.
Police now say eight students and two teachers were killed when another student opened fire in an art class shortly before 08:00 (13:00 GMT) on Friday at the Santa Fe High School. Thirteen others were wounded in the attack, with two in critical condition.
Among the dead are a Pakistani exchange student and a substitute teacher.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, has been charged with murder after surrendering to police. He later admitted “to shooting multiple people”. He allegedly used a shotgun and a revolver taken from his father, who legally owned the weapons.
It was the fourth deadliest shooting at a US school in modern history, and the deadliest since a student opened fire in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people.
The Florida attack spawned a nationwide youth-led campaign for gun control, and a series of proposed changes, including moves to ban so-called bump stocks used in last year’s Las Vegas shooting that killed 58 concert-goers.
What does the lieutenant governor propose?
Dan Patrick is a well-known proponent of gun ownership. He has advocated carrying weapons openly and concealed in Texas – and reiterated some of his views on Sunday, too.
He told CNN’s State of the Union programme that restricting school entrances and arming more teachers could reduce such incidents.
“When you’re facing someone who’s an active shooter, the best way to take that shooter down is with a gun. But even better than that is four to five guns to one,” Mr Patrick said.
ON ABC’s This Week, he blamed a culture of violence.
“We have devalued life, whether it’s through abortion, whether it’s the breakup of families, through violent movies, and particularly violent video games.”
Challenged over gun ownership that made it so deadly in the US – unlike in other countries that had the same social challenge – Mr Patrick said: “Guns stop crimes.”