'More Guns Won't Help': Ex-ATF Agent Says Arming Teachers is Not the Answer

© REUTERS / WSVN.comStudents are evacuated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during a shooting incident in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 14, 2018 in a still image from video
Students are evacuated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during a shooting incident in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 14, 2018 in a still image from video - Sputnik International
After the Parkland massacre in Florida last month US President Donald Trump said the answer was to arm teachers. But Sputnik spoke to a former ATF agent, David Chipman, who said Trump was "lacking leadership" and pandering to the gun lobby.

David Chipman, a former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agent and Senior Policy Advisor with Giffords, the gun control lobbyists, said bringing more firearms into schools was not the answer.

"Because of the influence of the gun lobby in the United States the notion has been raised that an additional firearm would lead to a better experience in a school shooting scenario but it simply isn't the case," Mr. Chipman told Sputnik.

The debate about whether to arm teachers took an interesting twist on Wednesday, February 28, when Jesse Davidson, 53, a social studies teacher, fired at least one shot inside a classroom at Dalton High School in Georgia.

This is Jesse Davidson. He is the 53-year old teacher who fired a shot into a classroom today at Dalton High School. Students say he's one of their favorite teachers in the school.

On February 14 Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student who subscribed to white supremacist views shot dead 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

While young people marched in Florida demanding more gun control, Trump claimed the answer was to give guns to teachers so they could "defend the school."

But Mr. Chipman said Trump, like many other people who had no military or police training, fundamentally misunderstood the situation.

'A Teacher's Job is to Teach'

He said a teacher's job was to teach children, not to act as an armed security guard.

"I worked for the ATF and was on a SWAT team and underwent a lot of training to be able to tackle a shooter. I can't imagine that would be provided to teachers and there is this false notion that self-defense skills are the same skills as taking out a shooter in a crowd," Mr. Chipman told Sputnik.

"More guns can make things worse. The voices of young people and knowledgeable people in law enforcement are becoming louder. These are people who want to save American lives," he told Sputnik.

Mr. Chipman said Trump's comments about being prepared to run into a school where a shooting was taking place unarmed were pure "theater" and typical of the man.

"I don't know how he would respond in a real situation. But I saw how he reacted on stage during the campaign when someone tried to get on stage. He almost broke his leg running away," Mr. Chipman told Sputnik.

On social media many people have raised doubts about arming teachers, many of whom are under great stress anyway.

In Wednesday's incident in Dalton, Georgia, Davidson barricaded himself alone inside the classroom and said: "Don't come in here, I have a gun," before firing a shot when the principal tried to force open the door.

He was arrested soon afterwards and nobody was injured but the incident has triggered questions about the wisdom of arming teachers.

Police Let Off Georgia School Teacher in 2016

It has since emerged that Davidson, who was also the play-by-play announcer for the Dalton High School football team, had had run-ins with the police before.

In August 2016 police were called to his home in nearby Rising Fawns after he set fire to his own car and waved a gun around.

He was never charged with any offense at that time but was reported for a mental evaluation and three guns were confiscated from his home.

They were later returned to his wife who was told not to give him access to the weapons, according to CBS News's Crimesider.

Davidson was charged on Thursday, March 1, with aggravated assault, carrying a weapon on school grounds, terroristic threats, reckless conduct, possession of gun during commission of a crime and disrupting public school.

The views and opinions expressed by David Chipman are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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