What would it cost to arm more teachers is America’s schools, as President Trump has proposed? The Washington Post’s Philip Bump did some back-of-the-envelope math to try to find the answer.
Bump started with Trump’s suggestion from his listening session with students and parents Wednesday that arming, say, the 20 percent of teachers most “highly adept” with firearms could help end school shootings very quickly.
That means arming roughly 718,000 teachers nationwide “— a bit fewer than the number of people in the Army and the Navy combined as of last December.” Providing basic firearms training for those people would cost about $71.8 million. More robust training created for teachers in active-shooter scenarios might run about $1,000 per trainee, or $718 million total, based on the cost of one such program based in Ohio.
There there’s the cost of providing those teachers with guns. Buying hundreds of thousands of Glock G17 pistols would add about $360 million to the tab, but maybe the government could get a big discount, cutting the tab in half.
The total cost then would be at least $250 million, which would include basic training and discounted guns, and possibly as high as $1.077 billion, if the government opted for a higher level of training and paid full price for the firearms. If schools provide no training, leaving just the price of the guns, we might be talking about roughly $180 million, or more once you factor in ammunition, higher insurance fees and other potential costs.
Trump on Thursday said he would consider providing federal money for firearms training for teachers and proposed providing “a little bit of a bonus” for those who get the training. He estimated that “it may be 10 percent or may be 40 percent” of teachers who would be qualified to carry a weapon. The overall cost of arming teachers would obviously change dramatically depending on what the number might be.
Bump’s Washington Post article also analyzes a proposal by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to hire six to eight guards to patrol every school. Read his piece for all the details about how much that would cost. We’ll just tell you that the lowest estimate runs $12 billion a year — and the highest is several times that.
This article was updated at 4:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, February 22.