INDIANAPOLIS — Eric Dietz, Ph.D., the former director of Homeland Security for the state of Indiana and 22-year Army veteran, says he is only interested in one thing when it comes to the debate over stationing armed personnel and teachers in America’s schools: saving lives.
Now a professor at Purdue University and director of the school’s Homeland Security Institute, Dietz could be the guy who -- once and for all -- destroys the left’s argument against putting more guns in schools. And it's all based on numbers and facts.
That research? More guns in schools equal fewer deaths during active shooter situations.
At the 2014 National Rifle Association convention in Indianapolis on Friday, Dietz told TheBlaze that he set out to determine what realistic measures could be taken to reduce deaths during school shootings. Using an “agent-based modeling” method that he says is as straight forward as it gets, Dietz and the university were able to conclude that the “introduction of a minimal (10%) armed faculty in conjunction with [a] resource officer” could reduce overall casualties in school-related shootings by roughly 70 percent.
Since the 1950s, all but two mass shootings have occurred in locations where victims were restricted from carrying weapons for self-defense, his work says. This stunning statistic led the university to question the effectiveness of so-called “gun free zones.”
The methodology of the research is fairly simple and rooted in common sense, Dietz claims. It takes into account four separate scenarios involving an active shooter:
• Scenario 1: No access to control or security.
• Scenario 2: Resource officer
• Scenario 3: 5-10 percent of work force has concealed carry
• Scenario 4: 5-10 percent of work force has concealed carry and a resource officer
In scenario one, potential victims of a school shooting must rely only on police. On average, police response time is roughly 10-12 minutes. Accordingly, an “active shooter” generally shoots someone every 20 seconds, Dietz explained, citing his research.
“That’s a really long time for a killer,” he told TheBlaze.
The research found that the most critical element to reducing casualties in an active shooter situation at a school is “time,” Dietz said. Obviously, the less time a shooter has to carry out his twisted plan, the less people the shooter can kill.
The model created by Dietz and his students seemingly reveals a clear trend: More guns equals fewer casualties in an active shooter situation.
“The issue of school shootings is obviously a very emotional debate,” he said. “What we are trying to do is take the emotion out of the debate and figure out how we can save the most lives and educate the policy makers, as well as parents and citizens.
In the scenario where there is an armed resource officer, casualties dropped by 66.5 percent and response time was cut 59.5 percent. When five percent of teachers were carrying concealed weapons, deaths were reduced by 6.8 percent and response time dropped by 5.4 percent. When 10 percent of teachers were carrying concealed weapons, casualties fell by 23.2 percent and response time went down 16.8 percent.
However, the real reductions came when teachers carrying concealed firearms were supplemented with a resource officer, the results show.
In the scenario where five percent of teachers were carrying concealed guns and a resource officer was present, casualties dropped an astonishing 69.2 percent and response time dropped 59.7 percent. Finally, when 10 percent of teachers were carrying concealed firearms and a resource officer was present, casualties fell by 70.2 percent and response time was reduced by 62.7 percent.
The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that 57 percent of public schools in the U.S. had no security staff present at any time during the school week in 2009-2010.
To the critics who say more guns always translate into more crime, the Purdue research notes that there has been an increase in firearms ownership by 61 percent between 2004-2012 — yet there has been a reduction in violence crime by 12.9 percent since 2008.
Dietz says there is more research to be done on the issue, including instances where there is no active shooter, to determine if there is a significant risk to having guns present at schools on a daily basis.