Texas state Rep. Dan Flynn recently introduced legislation to increase the amount of force that a teacher may use against a student. The current law limits a teacher by declaring that the “The use of force, but not deadly force, against a [student] is justified.” In Flynn’s Teacher’s Protection Act, he proposes to extend the rights of teachers to use deadly force. This law would not only allow teachers to protect themselves or another person in self-defense, but allows for teachers to use deadly force in “theft…or criminal mischief” as found in Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code.
Criminal mischief in the Texas Penal Code includes graffiti and any act on property that causes “substantial inconvenience” to the owner or third party. In other words, a lot of teenage pranks are justification for the immediate imposition of the death penalty.
It is hard to imagine that Flynn’s bill would not lead to some horrible tragedies in the future if it became law. The use of deadly force could not be used merely to protect a person, but to prevent a wall from being spray painted.
The law also grants civil immunity to any educator who employs the use of force in these situations.
In 2013, Flynn introduced legislation to allow both staff and students to carry concealed weapons onto college campuses. Fortunately, that bill did not pass. That was also the case with another bill by Flynn that would allow for the open carrying of firearms.
However, some of Flynn’s bills that year on guns did become law. He authored legislation that reduced the number of training hours for a concealed handgun license from 10-15 hours to 4-6 hours. Also passing was a bill that would ease the renewal of those licenses by simply having the licensee sign off on an informational sheet every five years.
Thus, Flynn wants to reduce the training required for possessing a concealed handgun license while increasing the appropriate legal use of deadly force that might involve the use of that handgun. It doesn’t take a lot of deep thought to see this is a bad mix.
Flynn touts a widely disseminated report by the FBI that violent crime has been heading down as justification for owning guns. He has used a dubious NRA claim that as more guns become available, crime is reduced. While correlation does not represent causation, that doesn’t get in the way of people like Flynn promoting their agendas with anything that they can grab from the air and claim as a fact. On Twitter, Flynn claimed that “FBI data showing increased gun ownership coinciding with a reduction in violent crime.” The FBI report did not suggest that.
Crime has been on the downswing for over two decades. Deeper thinkers than Flynn and the NRA realize that demographics, sentencing laws like three strikes and increased police spending have played significant roles in this decline. More people toting guns is not necessarily the cause of this trend but simply an incomplete connecting of the dots that these people want to connect.
As might be expected, Flynn as an A+ rating from the Texas State Rifle Association and the National Rifle Association. He doesn’t deserve an A+ for keeping schools safer.