When Nate Bowling, the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year and a National Teacher of the Year finalist, posted some tweets identifying himself as a gun enthusiast after the Parkland school shooting, it raised eyebrows. The AP geography and AP government teacher didn’t fit anyone’s stereotype of a gun nut, and Bowling is a well-known blogger on social justice issues.
I don’t support sweeping gun bans, but I do believe that magazine size limits will save lives and that background checks should be far more comprehensive.
— nate bowling (@nate_bowling) February 23, 2018
But Bowling, an Air Force veteran, is into guns as well as teaching and sees some linkages between the craft involved in being successful with each. And, like many gun owners, he has views on gun policy that deviate from the gun lobby’s. The 74 asked him some questions about firearms and his views on how to keep schools safe from gun violence.
THE 74: Do you think teachers should be armed in school?
BOWLING: I think the idea of arming teachers is frankly one of the dumbest policy ideas I have heard recently. I am actually pretty disturbed by what I am see as a rightward drift in national gun policy and gun conversation. If you go back to, say, the 1970s, conservatives in California, including Ronald Reagan, supported gun control legislation. In 1994, there was a bipartisan consensus under Clinton to have an assault weapons ban, and in the 10-year period when the assault weapons ban was in place, the number of mass shootings and the lethality of mass shootings went down. That’s documented …
THE 74: As a gun owner and a teacher, what safety measures do you support?
BOWLING: I believe that schools should be gun-free zones except for law enforcement. In my school, we have a school resource officer present in the building, and he is a welcome part of the staff as far as I am concerned. Beyond that, I think there are some very simple things we can do. If you think about the number of shooters who have been caught or stopped or apprehended when they were reloading, I know that reducing magazine size saves lives, so I would support limits on magazine size. I would also support an assault weapons ban being reinstituted. Grandfathering in existing weapons; there are already millions of assault weapons circulating in the population. Confiscation is not going to happen, but that doesn’t mean we need to introduce more. I would also support enhanced background checks that draw from available public data.
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