Sputnik: How reasonable is the introduction of the so-called School Self-Defence Act, which aims to allow teachers to carry weapons while on school grounds?
F. Paul Valone: Thankfully, we now have more than 20 states which allow some measure of firearms on school properties, including 8 which specifically arm teachers. We have seen the predicted mayhem in none of these school districts and, in fact, controlled multi-variant research indicates that the only way to stop violent sociopaths from perpetuating active shooter scenarios in places like schools is the assurance that they will encounter armed victims and be stopped in their acts. So we consider it quite reasonable.
F. Paul Valone: I don't know that necessarily schools have any — our schools don't any more serious security problems than any other schools, but the fact is that we are modelling this after a programme for arming airline pilots, which has so far deterred terrorism since 2001. So, we do know the model works and we are now trying to apply it to schools.
Sputnik: Who might be responsible for current security problems at schools?
F. Paul Valone: Once again, I'm not sure that there are any greater security problems at schools than any place else. The problem is not simply a function of security problems, the intent of both of these bills, to provide armed faculty members in schools, the intent is to deter violent sociopaths.
Sputnik: Going back to the School Self-Defence Act, is it possible to train an average teacher to use weapons in case of a mass shooting?
F. Paul Valone: Once again, the model has already been proven with the Federal Flight Deck Officer Programme for arming pilots. The fact is that it doesn't require extensive training to teach a teacher or anyone else to handle an active shooter scenario. We are not giving them powers of arrest, and we prefer not to. There're actually two versions of the bill. In one, the Senate version of the bill, the teacher would actually be required to take an entire basic law enforcement training curriculum and become sworn law enforcement officers, which, of course, includes firearms training; so, without doubt, they would be qualified.
Our preferred version of the bill is somewhat more limited; we will undertake about 40 hours of training as opposed to roughly 600 [hours] that is required by BLET. In 40 hours of training they would be given training to handle active shooter scenarios, but they would not be given powers of arrest or be taught things that are not relevant to stopping school shootings. The basic law enforcement technology degree involves things like vehicular chases, rules of evidence, how to make arrests and a variety of other things that are not relevant to stopping active shooter scenarios.
F. Paul Valone: Absolutely. And, in fact, that exceeds what other states have.
Sputnik: What is the likelihood that other states will follow in the footsteps of North Carolina and introduce similar acts?
F. Paul Valone: We are not the first state to do this. Similar legislation has passed in Texas and elsewhere. So, it isn't just the matter of following North Carolina, it is a trend in which essentially we are looking for a relaxation on the limits for lawful citizens to carry concealed firearms to deter active shooting scenarios. And to that effect we have since 1995 been expanding our Concealed Handgun system to include increasing numbers of areas where citizens can protect themselves. We passed concealed carry back in 1995 and we have expanded it to include restaurants, assemblies of people for which admission is charged, to a certain extent educational properties although that is somewhat limited in what we were able to get through, parades and funerals, state and municipal parks and a variety of other places. Since we passed concealed carry in 1995, violent crime in the state of North Carolina has dropped by 47 percent.
Sputnik: The last school shooting in North Carolina was in October of last year. How acute is actually the problem with school shootings in North Carolina?
Sputnik: So, this problem is not actually a problem and it's not acute at all, right?
F. Paul Valone: Let's put it this way, it is a problem within our country. It is a problem within the world as we recently witnessed in New Zealand, in the two mosques there. The fact is that violent sociopaths exist worldwide. There are two ways that you can deal with a violent sociopath. One is to expect the police to solve the problem; but as New Zealand proves, the police are many minutes away when, in fact, you need a response to an active shooter immediately. The first few seconds and the first few minutes are what is critical in stopping an active shooter, and, unfortunately, the police cannot be every place at once. So, the reality is that if you want to stop an active shooter, someone on the scene has to be armed.
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The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.