In the wake of the Newtown massacre, several states passed laws to allow school officials to carry firearms on campus, arguing that more guns would keep students safe. Insurance companies apparently disagree now that these laws are beginning to take effect. In Kansas, where the law kicked in July 1, major insurers have deemed the new policy too risky and are refusing to cover schools that arm their employees.
Des Moines-based EMC Insurance, which covers 85 to 90 percent of Kansas school districts, has a longstanding policy of denying coverage to schools that arm employees, and they seem unlikely to change it to accommodate Kansas’ new law. Two smaller insurance firms that cover the remaining 10 percent of Kansas schools are also adopting the same policy. Insurers say the risk of giving guns to anyone but law enforcement in a building full of children would make a school’s coverage much more expensive.
“We’ve been writing school business for almost 40 years, and one of the underwriting guidelines we follow for schools is that any on-site armed security should be provided by uniformed, qualified law enforcement officers,” EMC executive Mick Lovell told USA Today.
While no Kansas schools have thus far taken advantage of the new law, districts all over the country started encouraging and even requiring teachers to carry weapons after the Newtown shooting. Over the weekend, a school district in Newcomerstown, Ohio, announced that they would allow employees to carry guns starting in the 2013 school year. The selected employees will undergo tactical training and get certified by the Sheriff’s department.
A week after the Newtown shooting in December, the National Rifle Association pushed for more guns in schools, arguing that “gun-free zones” attract killers. However, as the insurers recognize, arming teachers and custodians poses a far greater danger. Nor do more weapons do much to stop gunmen from doing harm; Columbine High School, the site of one of the most deadly shootings in U.S. history, had an armed guard. Most gunmen wreak havoc in just a few minutes, which would require an armed staffer to have a lightning-fast response time to disarm the shooter. Indeed, even gun shows require aficionados to check their weapons at the door for safety reasons.