FASTER Saves Lives: Buckeye Firearms Foundation reaching educators at statewide conferences
by Jim Irvine
5:05PM Wednesday, February 25 2015
The Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) holds its annual Capital Conference in November each year. At the most recent conference, Buckeye Firearms Foundation was invited to host a breakout session on armed school staff. We also had a booth to talk to schools about safety and security and the option of armed staff.
The conference started on a safety note, as Dr. Dick Caster and John Benner hosted a presentation “To arm or not to arm” to a packed audience. A lively discussion followed with Messrs. Caster and Benner answering questions and concerns raised by audience members. It was clear that most had not authorized someone to possess firearms, but it had been talked about, and the reasons not to were being replaced by serious consideration.
Our booth was staffed by John Benner of Tactical Defense Institute, Attorney Sean Maloney, Joe Eaton and myself. Several people associated with the program at their school also volunteered time and answered questions. We debuted our new FASTER website (www.fastersaveslives.org) and brochure tailored specifically for schools. With the interest growing, we needed a better way for school decision makers to sort through the noise and find good information.
There were friends from districts that were early to authorize staff and attend training, as well as those who are firearm enthusiasts who came by because they knew we were there. But most attendees had not heard of FASTER Saves Lives, or Buckeye Firearms Foundation, and wondered what on earth a gun group was doing at an educational conference.
Benner answered questions on training and mindset. Maloney answered legal questions, and Eaton and I explained the program and general concept. School violence is a topic familiar to every administrator, but much confusion remains. People enjoyed getting straight answers on mindset, training and medical care. They knew they needed a better solution, and they were excited to have viable ideas to consider.
Most schools still do not have adequate trauma kits, though progress has been made since we called for a kit in every school. Most were impressed with the trauma kits and five lucky schools were happy to walk away with a $75.00 kit drawn from those who put their name/card in our basket. At the end of the conference, we gave away the $700.00 kit we had displayed as the grand prize.
At the end of the event, Eaton commented that we totally missed our mark. “We came here to explain to people that armed staff is a viable option. They already know that. What we needed to explain was how to do it.”
He was right. We will be back this year, with double the booth space, additional people, more trauma kits and better prepared to help make Ohio schools the safest in the country.
The Buckeye Association of School Administrators will hold their School Facilities and Safety Conference on March 11-12, 2015. Representatives from Buckeye Firearms Foundation will be attending. Dr. Dick Caster will be presenting on “The “Real” Problem Facing School Administrators in School Shootings.” There will be other speakers on this topic and we highly encourage school Superintendents to learn from the experts available to them.
Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Foundation President, BFA PAC Chairman and recipient of the NRA-ILA’s 2011 “Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award” and the CCRKBA’s 2012 “Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award.”