South Dakota Becomes One of the First States to Allow Armed Teachers

By:  Bob Adelmann
South Dakota Becomes One of the First States to Allow Armed Teachers

It is hoped that with the implementation of South Dakota's "School Sentinel" law, allowing teachers and other school personnel to carry sidearms, that other states will quickly pass similar laws, reducing the threats of future Columbines, Virginia Techs, and Sandy Hooks.

On July 1 South Dakota’s “School Sentinel” law became effective, making that state one of the first in the nation to allow teachers and other school officials to carry a sidearm in the classroom. Signed into law in March by Gov. Dennis Daugaard, the law provides that teachers wishing to carry must first obtain permission from the school district and then undergo rigorous training. Supporters said that such a law will make schools more safe by allowing teachers to become “first responders,” while those opposed were concerned about the risks involved in allowing loaded weapons on school grounds. At this writing no school district has adopted the policy.

South Dakota's law verges on being groundbreaking because it specifically affirms the ability of teachers to carry guns, but Texas, according to the Star-Telegram, has previously allowed any person to carry a gun in schools with district permission. And a handful of states do not specifically ban guns from campuses, leaving the decision to allow guns on campus up to universities.

Philip Hodges celebrated the event, even though no teachers have applied for permission to carry, yet. It will only take a few to protect the entire school, wrote Hodges at Those teachers who suffer from hoplophobia will sort themselves out of the process, while a few are likely to request permission. Those few, however, will be able to protect both teachers and students, as a potential murderer would face the “element of surprise,” not knowing who is armed and who isn't. It would also likely reduce the risk of an armed security guard being the primary, if not the only, target for an attacker.

One of the reasons given for allowing armed teachers is the the police's slow response time. The timeline from a 9-1-1 call to the arrival of an armed official first responder is about 11 minutes, according to Massad Ayoob, a 39-year veteran of police work and training:

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