SAPD Chief Speaks Out on Arming Teachers to Make Schools Safe

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus is wading into the politically-charged debate over whether to arm classroom teachers, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

"If teachers were to carry guns in schools, they should be carrying them on their person and not locking them up in a drawer or a safe somewhere.  When you need a gun, you need a gun now," he says.

Chief McManus stopped short of either endorsing the arming of teachers or shooting the idea down.  During a student symposium at the Anne Frank Inspire Academy, he said that if he's asked by city or state leaders, he would give his opinion.  For now, he's focusing on logistics.  

He says, if the laws were to be changed, he would want a requirement that teachers keep the guns in holsters.  That would keep firearms away from students, and would allow teachers to act quickly.

"If there were a law passed that allowed teachers to carry guns, the requirement should be that you carry it on your hip," he told students.

Chief McManus did offer up his personal opinion that he feels safer when carrying a gun.

"I would much rather be sitting somewhere in public with a weapon on my side than not, and then have someone walk in and start shooting and say, 'Damn, I should have brought my gun today.'"

He says there are fewer shootings in Texas because of the state's gun laws.  The bad guys, he says, don't want to run into someone who is armed.

Before becoming chief of San Antonio's police, McManus worked for several different agencies, including a two-decade long stretch in Washington D.C.  He told students of a time where he met a FBI friend for a meal at an Italian restaurant in Arlington, Virginia.  Both were out of uniform, but still had their service weapons.  When they walked out the front door, two men walked in the back and robbed the entire place.

"I shudder to think what would have happened had we still been in that restaurant.  The last thing a person who is armed would do is hit the floor."

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