Kansas elementary school teacher Daniel Nagel faces a year in prison and job loss for going above and beyond the call of duty and protecting his students with his concealed-carry permit. Daniel would take a bullet for any of the 300 children he teaches daily and he should be awarded for his bravery. Instead, he is on suspension and awaits a May 30 hearing with the school board and a June 11 court appearance.
On Monday, May 20, Dan was teaching gym and carrying his handgun in an inside-the-waistband hip holster. So, there was zero chance that his gun would fall out of his holster or hurt his students and a 100 percent chance that Daniel could defend his students if a gunman breached the school. Daniel is highly competent with firearms; he practices at the range monthly and also takes yearly classes to advance his firearm skills.
Another teacher observed what must have been the silhouette of Daniel’s handgun beneath his clothes while he was actively teaching his students. This teacher-observer panicked and told the principal that Daniel had a gun. Without investigating, the principal immediately called the police. Despite the fact that Daniel is a concealed-carry permit holder with a spotless record, the police arrested him for carrying in a “gun free zone.”
A few police officers tried to remove Daniel’s gun from his holster and were unable so Daniel had to tell them how. Which, again, speaks to how secure Daniel’s gun was at his side. To reiterate, there was no chance that his gun would endanger children; there was a very large chance that Daniel could use his gun to save their lives. The Wichita Police Department is a 12-minute drive and seven miles away from White Elementary. In the event of a mass attack, hundreds of defenseless children and teachers could be killed before the cops would arrive.
Daniel has taught physical education at White Elementary school for the past five years. At just 31 years of age, he has eight years of teaching experience under his belt. He is also a father himself, and his son attends a preschool within White Elementary. Daniel cares about children. So much so that he was willing to lose his life or job to protect them.
Teachers like Daniel who are willing to commit civil disobedience à la Henry David Thoreau to do the right thing are intelligent and priceless educators. In the wake of tragedy after tragedy in gun free zones, there is no use arguing this point: Gun free zones attract criminals like honey attracts flies.
Yes, Daniel technically broke the law. But the law he broke was unjust, impractical and unconstitutional, denying teachers their 2nd Amendment right to defend themselves and rendering innocent children vulnerable to lethal violence.
Over a month ago, on April 17, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed concealed carry reform legislation, House Bill 2052 into law. Sect. 2 (a) of Kansas HB 2052 requiring all public buildings (EXCEPT SCHOOLS!) to let permit holders conceal-carry handguns within their facilities by July 1, 2013.
“Sec. 2. (a) The carrying of a concealed handgun as authorized by the personal and family protection act shall not be prohibited in any state or municipal building unless such building has adequate security measures to ensure that no weapons are permitted to be carried into such building and the building is conspicuously posted…”
But schools, buildings housing hundreds of precious and defenseless young lives and therefore most prone to violent attack, were excluded from this bill:
Sec 2 (2): “The terms ‘‘municipality’’ and ‘‘municipal’’ are interchangeable and have the same meaning as the term ‘‘municipality’’ is defined in K.S.A. 75-6102, and amendments thereto, but does not include school districts.” (Emphasis added.)
White Elementary School does not have adequate security (more on that below) such as a metal detector and armed guards at the entrance; it should be perfectly legal for teachers to conceal-carry.
To put this in perspective, Adam Lanza did not hit up a National Guard Base; he specifically targeted a gun free zone when he decided to commit mass murder. If the principal and teachers had been armed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, 20 children and six adults may not have lost their lives to a mentally unstable gunman. But because of ridiculous “gun free zone” legislation, innocent and precious lives were lost forever.
Daniel understood the weaknesses of the White Elementary security policy and had recently observed the school’s inability to protect its students. Let’s run through just how easy it would be for an armed criminal to penetrate White Elementary and why Daniel was right to carry his handgun to school on May 20: