A state representative from Alabama doesn't believe "lady teachers" should — or want to — carry firearms.
"We don't need to have a lady teacher in a school that's got a firearm," Harry Shiver (R-Stockton) said at a public safety meeting last week, according to WSFA. "I taught for 32 years, and it's mostly ladies that's teaching, and they got more things to worry about than a gun."
Shiver found an ally in Democratic Rep. Mary Moore, who her school district purposely hires mostly female teachers and administrative workers because "[superintendents] say it's easier to control a female teacher."
Shiver later doubled down on his comments in an interview with AL.com.
"I'm not saying all [women], but in most schools, women are [the majority] of the teachers," he said.
"Some of them just don't want to [be trained to possess firearms]. If they want to, then that's good. But most of them don't want to learn how to shoot like that and carry a gun."
The state representative was referring to a bill that would let trained staff members at schools carry firearms on school grounds. He told AL.com he would probably abstain from voting on the bill, which passed through the public safety committee and will now be discussed in the House.
President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association (NRA) have both been vocal advocates for arming teachers in schools. On Feb. 22 Trump tweeted his intention.
"What I said was to look at the possibility of giving "concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience - only the best. 20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to," he posted.
According to research from Vice News, 14 states — Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Washington — already have armed teachers in some of their schools. Following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, lawmakers in Florida have been weighing legislation to train and arm some of their state's teachers.
"Another 16 states give local school boards the authority to decide whether school staff can carry guns, either explicitly or through legal loopholes," Vice reported.
According to a Gallup poll published March 16, nearly three-quarters of teachers nationwide are opposed to arming teachers.
Last week students nationwide participated in walkouts to honor the 17 victims of the Florida shooting and to bring attention to gun control issues. And Emma González, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas senior and activist, made a recent appearance on "60 Minutes" in which she called arming teachers with guns "stupid."
"If you're a teacher and you have a gun, do you keep it in a lockbox or do you carry it on your person? If the teacher dies and the — and a student who's a good student is able to get the gun, are they now held responsible to shoot the student who's come into the door? I'm not happy with that," she said.
In Alabama, Rep. Shiver isn't happy about it either — but not for the same reason.
"I've heard ... that 75 percent of Republicans support it, but I was there live and in person and I know what it is like in the schools," he said to AL.com. "Most women wouldn't like to be put in that position. I know from South Alabama, they wouldn't."
There are indeed more female teachers than male. And while most people with firearms in the United States are male (62 percent), 22 percent of women reported owning a gun in a Pew Research Center report. But when it comes to personal identity feelings on gun ownership, differences between men and women "are not statistically significant."
Pew also reported that more women see self-defense as the primary reason to own a weapon. Ninety-two percent of women and 91 percent of men said protection is one reason they own a firearm. But 27 percent of women cited protection as the only reason they own one, compared to just 8 percent of men.
Republicans are much more likely to report owning a gun or that someone in their house owns one compared to Democrats — 57 percent versus 25 percent.
Pew compared different opinions among male and female Republican gun owners. Interestingly, the men and women held similar views on arming teachers in K-12 schools. Three-quarters of the women and 84 percent of the men agree with the measure. (Pew published the report in June 2017, almost a year before the massacre in Parkland, Fla.)
However, there are gaps when it comes to protective measures regarding firearms. Less than a quarter of the men favor banning high-capacity magazines, while more than half of the women agree with the idea. Sixty percent of the women and 20 percent of the men would like to outlaw assault-style weapons altogether.
TheTrace.org reported in 2016 that female gun ownership has not significantly changed since the '80s. Citing research from the General Social Survey (GSS), part of the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, the website reported: "On average, the GSS has found 11.2 percent of American women report owning a gun, fluctuating from as low 9.1 percent in 1989 and as high as 13.7 percent in 1982. In 2014, the last year for which data is available, 11.7 percent of women reported owning a gun, or about the average rate."