Gun rights advocates propose arming Vermont schools

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Walk into the school building at Medina ISD in Texas and a sign reads, “Attention, please be aware that the staff at Medina ISD may be armed and will use whatever force is necessary to protect our students.”

Such could become reality for Vermont school grounds as well.

Current law in Vermont leaves it up to the school board to decide if a school is going to be a gun-free zone. Such zones currently account for 98 percent of mass shooting locations since 1950, according to the Crime Research Prevention Center.

While Vermont has some of the most liberal firearms freedom in the country, guns are banned at the Statehouse and also limited in school buildings. That could be about to change in response to the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

On Thursday lawmakers will hear testimony from pro-Second Amendment groups including Gun Owners of Vermont on why every school in the state should no longer be part of that 98 percent.

“We’re going to be the [Senate] Judiciary Committee on Thursday and part of my testimony is going to be to arm and train school teachers or school personnel. I don’t even care if it’s the janitor,” Gun Owners of Vermont president Eddie Cutler told True North.

“We have already lined up firearms instructors to teach school personnel how to do this free of charge (and) there are a number of volunteers. And if they don’t already own a firearm, we’ve had a couple of FFL [federal firearm licensed] dealers ready to donate them.”

Cutler emphasized that this plan would cost no additional money for schools or taxpayers. All that is required is legislative action in Montpelier.

“What we need is legislation that says it’s legal to have these personnel in the schools armed,” he said.

Cutler noted there are already a couple of schools in the state right now that are doing this with the blessings of their school boards.

The initiative is gaining traction elsewhere in the country. In Butler County, Ohio, Sheriff Richard Jones has offered free firearms training to 50 teachers, and the course reportedly filled up all 50 slots in 20 minutes.

Sheriff W. Samuel Hill of Washington County said he supports looking into the proposal of arming teachers and staff, so long as the right administrators or officials can be selected for the role.

“The hard part of that is the amount of training and responsibility,” Hill told True North. “ … Who are you going to arm? What’s his or her role going to be? There’s a lot more to it than just giving somebody and gun and sending them into a school.”

He said issues such has how to advance in a firefight, how to fall back, and who would take on the responsibilities and liabilities would have to be worked out.

“[It] would take some work and thought behind it to really work it out.”

Eddie Garcia, founder of the Vermont Citizens Defense League, said while he’s not sure about arming teachers, somebody on school grounds needs to be armed.

“At St. Johnsbury School you have to be buzzed-in during the day — I think that’s a good idea,” he said. “I think access points should be hardened, I think that armed security or a school resource officer need be there.

“As far as arming teachers, I’m kind of lukewarm about that. I’m not opposed to it if the individual teacher isn’t, but we need to remember that they didn’t sign up for that.”

Chris Bradley, president of the Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, said he’s not ready to endorse a specific legislative response yet. However, he commended Vermont law enforcement for being able to do what the FBI couldn’t, which was to prevent a school shooting.

“In Vermont it appears that the process worked,” he said.

Last week, a teenage student alerted police that a classmate may have been planning a massacre at Fair Haven Union High School. After investigation, enough evidence was gathered that the student is now being held without bail and faces two counts of attempted aggravated murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder, among other charges.

“It was stopped cold. … It never escalated to the point [of action],” Bradley said.

Bradley said he thinks Gov. Phil Scott is likely to consider some kind of action on guns to help protect students.

“Frankly, reasonable men have to be reasonable. … He has to be at least open to considering various aspects to address this issue.”

Bradley said if any action is considered, he hopes the mental health issue is part of the conversation.

Studies back up the assertion that mental health issues have a strong association with mass shootings. For example, a study on mass shootings in the US conducted by the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange (CFIX) found that 79 percent were done by a person actively or recently under special care for mental health challenges.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Cimmerian praetor and Bruce Parker/TNR

8 thoughts on “Gun rights advocates propose arming Vermont schools

  1. Firemen don’t usually prevent a fire but rather respond to one that starts and hopefully put it out and mitigate the damage. Similar for police, it’s highly unlikely they’ll prevent a shooting incident but rather respond after one starts. Even if they’re only a few minutes away, a lot of carnage can happen before they get there.

    With that in mind ask yourself….honestly, which would you rather trust your children’s lives to? That being a “gun free zone” will deter a would be killer or having armed, trained personal on the school premises might be more effective?

    There’s only one correct answer if you’re serious about your child’s safety. Granted, this approach is not without challenges but in the end it’s a no brainer.

  2. Future potential young killers display mental trouble which the families should be aware of. Cruz, the FL killer’s parent didn’t know how bad their son was, cops went to their home 39 times. The Newtown CT kid killer was a mental case that the female parent knew, she got killed. DUH! Where was the parents. This illustrates a basic problem, break down of the family structure, have kids, but no involvement. Trouble starts at home. Are the parents using extreme graphic videos displaying violence as a baby sitter? Attitudes in the country have changed so copy-cat mentally deranged kids seek attention as being important and don’t know the result of their actions. School kids have become video targets.

    I’ve had two kids, now close to 50, I knew what they were doing ALL the time and there were a very few woodshed attitude adjustments. They turned out great Parents can’t discipline their kids and school systems / Gov wants kids in school earlier and earlier, taking away parent interactions. It’s become a baby sitting (mandated) situation, freeing the parents of their kids thereby increasing he costs of the school system (that leads to other financial problems).

    Now the public school grounds must be protected due to the mentioned situations. This is education in reverse. I see problems 1) breakdown of the family structure, 2) too much violence images accessible, 3) school systems that don’t serve the mental being of kids-they may be more craft / trade oriented than studying some forced boring subjects. Small town-Townshend has an 2 million $$$ art center, that’s not teaching kids basic material and how many kids want to dance around to “Midsummer’s Night Dream”? A waste in my opinion. 4) Schools and the Gov being involved in the family structure. 5) Parent / family responsibility is diminished, little guidance. The list could go on, the basic problems are readily known.
    6) Educators don’t want to traumatized the kids by having armed staff. What’s more traumatizing?

    I believe many people see the root of the problem and I call it liberalism.

  3. OK EVERYONE call your Senators today and tomorrow and have them call you back. When they do tell them to vote NO on S 221 It might be going down to the senate floor next week. The number for the sergeant at arms is 802 828 2228. Remember to be polite and make sure to tell them you will not accept any restrictions to article 16th of our constitution. Do not put this off waiting for someone else to do it. Even if you know your senator is anti its important that you contact them numbers count. Cut and past this and put it where ever you can

  4. Armed personnel at the school seems to be the appropriate action. I have 3 teenage sons and they are all for it as well. Without this it is like fish in a barrel.

  5. The practice of arming school staff has a proven track record of putting a stop to school shootings in Israel time we do the same,end gun free shooting galleries.

  6. I watched this man on Fox News the other night and he tells it just like it is..

    On Tuesday, former Secret Service agent and NYPD officer Dan Bongino appeared on Fox News’ “Outnumbered” to talk about gun control following the tragic school shooting in Florida, which left 17 people dead.

    Bongino got fired up and slammed those calling for stricter gun control.

    “I respect these kids and their rights, they absolutely should speak out. They’ve been through a horrible tragedy,” Bongino stated. “Banning ‘assault weapons’ is not the right approach.”

    Bongino continued: “Let me just let you in on a little secret. Criminals don’t care about your gun laws. They don’t give a damn. They don’t
    about rape laws, robbery laws, homicide laws, burglary laws, gun laws, or anything else.”

    Katie Pavlich also weighed in and stated that “the church massacre in Texas that we saw recently, it was an NRA-certified instructor who used an AR-15 to stop the killing there.”

  7. Note that Chris Bradley is willing to talk compromise on gun control, just like the Federation’s parent organization, the NRA.

    This is why I ditched NRA years ago, in favor of Gun Owners of America and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.

    If you want gun control, why not just join forces with Michael Bloomberg and Gen Sense Vermont and have done with it?

  8. Finally a plan to protect our kids , Vermont have been lucky when it comes to school tragedies,
    but we are not immune to the tragedies that we see through out the Nation !!

    Times they are changing and it’s not for the good , as you see there is evil & nut jobs everywhere
    and yes it’s of our doing . Don’t say anything you might offend someone,I’d rather offend someone
    then bury a loved one …………….. think about it !!

    So if we have people willing to train and supply teachers or hire some one, who is willing to take
    on this issue to protect our kids …………..They have my support.

    Liberals keep trying to convince every one that guns are evil , they are wrong PEOPLE are evil
    or just plain crazy.

    Why do we have so many school shooting, we all know the answer they are a soft targets and the
    cowardly perpetrators of these crimes know it. With people armed with in or schools and they’ll
    think twice …………. or maybe just one mistake , God willing !!.

    I hope Montpelier jumps on this project, if they don’t react in a positive manner, we know who they
    are and it time to move them out .

    With all the school shootings, people or authorities new these killers had a mental deficiency but
    said or did nothing ………………..SAD !!!

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