Why Don’t We Issue Bullet Proof Vests To Students?

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

I took this quiz yesterday over at FiveThirtyEight, and I was surprised at some of the numbers. Roughly 2 out of 3 Americans support stricter gun laws, although that number might be inflated because of polling conducted after Parkland. The article reports that the numbers go back down as memory of the latest mass shooting fades.

Of all the ideas for stricter gun laws and demands to protect children through having more armed people running around, one thing I don’t see much of is giving bullet proof gear to students. They happen often enough that they don’t surprise the public much anymore. Although, what counts as a school shooting depends on what definition gets used. Everytown, for example, catalogs every recorded incident of a firearm discharging a round into or on school property. Other sources only care if multiple victims get shot and/or killed. But regardless of how one measures it, there have been many instances of guns going off in public schools (click here for more info).

Still, nobody’s calling nationally to give students body armor.
If guns aren’t going anywhere – only about 10% of U.S. citizens want to ban firearms outright – then body armor makes sense. The number of mass shootings in schools is on the rise. We supply soldiers and police with body armor when they go into dangerous environments. Why not students?

At least body armor is becoming more fashionable for teachers. Maybe they can make smaller tactical gear for students too. They shouldn’t be as expensive, because they’d take less raw materials to manufacture.

Some schools might be uncomfortable with the student body going around in riot gear, but there are some other benefits too. It’s hard for high school students to engage in public displays of affection while wearing full riot gear. Combat gear also might cut down on playground injuries for younger students. College students ought to be able to get their protection in school colors.

As long as we’ve got a Second Amendment, mass shootings, and an NRA, we should look into this.
As far as I’m aware, the right to bear arms isn’t the same thing as a right to easy targets. People have talked about arming teachers and other personnel in schools, so it would make sense that at least those people should carry armor. But if we expect teachers and personnel to actually engage in a firefight with any potential attackers, the zone of danger foreseeably extends to bystanders. That the bystanders are kids makes no difference.

At least with body armor, it would do more than thoughts and prayers.

I spoke too soon. Two prominent YouTubers have spoken out about some changes to school safety, including the use of bullet proof sheets in backpacks:

10 thoughts on “Why Don’t We Issue Bullet Proof Vests To Students?

  1. There is a private school in Florida that sells bullet proof backpacks to their students. But it only protects the back. Also they are expensive A.F. I’ve read about it approx a year ago. But you have to go to that private school and be able to afford the gear. The right to bear arms is for everyone but the right to live if only for those who can afford it. I think that’s in the amendment 2.5

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  2. I suppose it makes more sense than the notion that more guns is the solution. But the very idea that children might need to be protected from something that is usually obtained for protection seems rather ironic to me.

    Are there any statistics that show how many lives have been saved compared to how many have been lost as a direct consequence of owning guns for self defence? Do Americans own guns to be safe or to feel safe? They are not the same thing. If it’s the latter, is the loss of even one innocent life worth it?

    Outside of the criminal fraternity, the idea of owning any weapon for the purposes of self defence is an anathema to most Kiwis, but hunting and shooting are popular pastimes here. Handguns and MSSAs are highly regulated (requires a firearms licence with an endorsement, and a permit to procure), but sporting style rifles, shotguns and semi-automatic weapons can be freely bought and sold and don’t require registration (even the AR-15, if it’s not equipped with a bump stock, pistol grip or large magazine).

    Perhaps most Americans would choke at our requirements for a New Zealand firearms licence, but I believe we’re safer because of our restrictive gun laws.

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    • Americans own firearms for different reasons. Some are collectors, some might own a firearm for self defense, and some people own them to actually hunt for food or sport. Then there are people who own them simply for the sake of having them, and some Americans even own them because they’re afraid someone’s going to take them away.

      You’re right that many Americans would choke at requirements for a firearm license. In the past several decades, permitting for handguns has become more commonplace, and a lot of firearms don’t even require a license to purchase and carry. For example, I’ve never held or fired a shotgun in my life, but I could go down the road to Walmart and buy one. I’d even pass the background check, because I never have been committed via court order to a mental institution.

      And with regards to statistics, some private companies keep track of different kinds, but usually they have an interest in gun policy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used to keep track of firearm related statistics, but they don’t do it because of legislation prohibiting public funds for any use which might support gun control. We’re in a tight spot in my country, and we’re blind too.

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  3. Why stop there? Why not stuff my kids into my tactical gear and send them to school fully armored? What the heck, add a sidearm and a direct line to call for air support.

    Oh, wait. DoD school. My bad. No unauthorized firearms allowed on post. I guess we can have gun control, but only if you’re in the military.

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