By Brendan Fischer on December 21, 2012

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who became nationally known for severely limiting the union rights of teachers and other public employees, has indicated support for arming those same school officials who apparently cannot be trusted to collectively bargain.

As Americans search for answers and policy solutions in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Gov. Walker has apparently decided that the problem is not too many guns -- it is that there are not enough.

Giving guns to teachers should be "part of the discussion," he said on December 19. Walker refused to endorse an assault weapons ban or other limits on the types of guns or ammunition that can be sold.

Teachers Need Guns, Not Unions?

Walker's infamous Act 10 legislation drastically curtailed the collective bargaining rights of most public employees in the state, prompting months of historic protests and a recall effort. The governor justified the harsh legislation -- which he never mentioned during the campaign that installed him in office -- largely by demonizing unionized teachers as overpaid and underperforming.

The six teachers killed in the Newtown massacre, all members of an American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union chapter, have been widely praised for their heroism, with many shot while trying to shield their students.

"This has kind of pulled the curtain away to show who teachers really are," AFT President Randi Weingarten told In These Times' Mike Elk. "Teachers' instinct is to serve, to protect and to love. And you saw that in full view in Newtown this week."

For Weingarten, the way to prevent additional mass shootings is not through arming teachers. Unions have historically not taken a position on gun issues, but in the wake of the Newtown massacre, AFT is now taking up support for gun control.

"Teachers lost their lives protecting their kids, lunging at a gunman with an assault weapon. We should be getting guns out of society," she said.

Wisconsin Site of Two Mass Shootings in 2012, Walker Given NRA Award

Two of the last six mass shootings in the United States have occurred in Wisconsin.

On August 5, a white supremacist killed six people and wounded four others at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, then killed himself during a shootout with police.

On October 21, a man entered a day spa in Brookfield and murdered three women, one of whom was his wife, and wounded four others before taking his own life. The killer had a domestic violence restraining order against him, and despite Wisconsin law prohibiting domestic abusers from purchasing guns, he avoided a background check by purchasing the gun from a private dealer.

But the state's Republican Attorney General does not think Wisconsin has a gun problem, and Walker and the Republican-controlled state legislature have marched lockstep with the gun manufacturer's lobby.

In 2011, Walker signed into law a version of the Florida-style "Stand Your Ground" bill implicated in the Trayvon Martin tragedy as well as a new concealed-carry law that allows the public to carry guns inside the State Capitol, even while restrictive access rules prohibit cameras or signs. Legislators are now allowed to bring guns onto the Assembly and Senate floors.

In April, the National Rifle Association (NRA) gave Walker the Harlon B. Carter Legislative Achievement Award, honoring him for passing the "Stand Your Ground" and concealed carry laws. (The NRA also spent over $815,000 helping Walker win his recall election last June). As the Center for Media and Democracy has reported, both laws echo American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) "model" legislation, and ALEC has been one of the key avenues by which the NRA has exerted its influence over state law and policy.

ALEC is also an organization through which corporate interests have pushed anti-union legislation, most recently in Michigan, where legislators copied the ALEC Right to Work Act almost word-for-word.

But with the latest school shooting prompting unions like AFT to put their weight behind gun control, ALEC now is not the only place where union rights and gun issues intersect.

And unions will not be the only ones to note the absurdity of responding to gun violence with more guns, particularly by putting them in the hands of the same teachers who some public officials believe cannot be allowed to collectively bargain.


This article has been updated to reflect the NRA spending $815,000 on independent expenditures.

Comments

How do you want it to be? There is an easier way to participate, solve problems, and hold leaders accountable between elections. www.at10us.com

Concealed Carry is allowed in most state office buildings in Wisconsin. In contrast, UW and many local governments do not allow guns in their buildings. Allowing Concealed Carry in state office buildings does change the security situation for anyone in those buildings. The change was implemented with no input from the workers who must spend 8 hours each day in these buildings. I don't think it's right. People who have to work there should have some input in such a serious security policy change.

In the 80's I worked in GEF II. I did not like the fact that the DNR Wardens were allowed to wear their guns in the bldgs. I mentioned it to Risk Mgt. and they stopped. These were "trainees". Guns do not need to be in any public bldgs., including the Capitol. Go out in the woods or to a shooting range. For god's sake people. Wake up, Sandy Hill just happened. Our so-called Governor doesn't give a $hit about guns, he just needs all that NRA money hitting his pockets. Teaches need to be telling Scooter to go jump off one of the tallest KOCH bldgs. he can find. Why the hell should they agree to being armed, he's doesn't give a crap about them. Hopefully Scooter will be in prison soon if his co-criminals have anything to say about it. They're all goin to jail.

How do you want it to be? People who joined @10 think that regular Americans and subject matter experts – not government or the media -- are in the best position to solve problems. They want to build and share examples of those strategies from communities across the country. They want an easier way to participate, solve problems, and hold leaders accountable between election. www.at10us.com

You lean way too far to the extreme radical left. Correction is needed.

I have no problem with a teacher that own guns to carry one with her/him while teaching school.
50 years ago kids use to go hunting before school and had the gun in their auto and some teacher had them in their auto.
Then the Govt took over and the bad guy knows there are no guns in school. So he is free to do what ever knowing there are no guns in school. It like shooting fish in a water tank.
Felons and un-stable are not allow to own guns.

In these "What would Jesus shoot" times, GOD has never been cheaper.

Did the government also take over theaters, malls, hospitals, shopping centers and roads/highways and personal residences? The Amish schoolhouse in PA? Was God banned from these locations as well?

You're attempting to override the 1st amendment. Read that amendment. It clearly speaks of a wall between church and state for a reason.

There will always be criminals and mentally unstable people in this world. That's a given. That said, we'll never completely eliminate needless murders in this or any other country.

Armed teachers of any other educational staff is not the answer. There was armed security at Columbine and we all know how that worked out. In more than 98% of the massacres, another with a gun did NOT stop them.

Bill Moyers presents "United States of ALEC," a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of -- ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.