Parkland, Florida— While a number of students at Stoneman Douglas High School have called for stricter gun control following the deadly school shooting, 17-year-old Stoneman student Colton Haab told Fox News that he believes football coach Aaron Feis, who was reportedly killed while shielding students from gunfire, would have been able to neutralize the threat had he been allowed to carry his firearm on school grounds.
“If Coach Feis had had his firearm in school that day, I believe that he most likely could’ve stopped the threat,” Haab told Fox News. Haab is a Junior ROTC member who has been revered for shielding and directing as many as 70 kids to safety during the shooting.
Assistant football coach Feis was remembered by students and staff alike as a “hero” for turning himself into a human shield in order to save the lives of others.
“He died the same way he lived— he put himself second,” school spokesperson Denise Lehtio said. “He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.”
Haab explained that he saw Feis, who was reportedly a trained security guard in addition to being an assistant football coach, run toward the sound of the gunshots, only to later learn that Feis was killed as he tried to shield students from gunfire.
In an interview with Fox News, Haab said:
“I believe if we did bring firearms on campus to teachers that are willing to carry their firearm on school campuses—and they got their correct training for it—I think that would be a big beneficial factor for school safety. Because if Coach Feis had had his firearm in school that day, I believe that he most likely could’ve stopped the threat.”
An article from CNN reported that Haab, who is a member of the school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), jumped into action upon hearing gunshots and directed around 70 students into a classroom where they proceeded to use bulletproof Kevlar mats from the JROTC’s marksmanship program to act as protection in case found by the gunman.
“We lined [the students] up into the wall and along the back of the wall…and from there I was standing with my first sergeant and I said, ‘these are kevlar, these are bulletproof material,’” Haab said. “We started moving the kevlar sheets forward.”
The Florida school shooting has reignited a wide-ranging debate as to how to most effectively stop the school shooting phenomena, with some in favor of stricter gun control laws while others support armed guards or allowing trained teachers to carry firearms on school grounds.
Haab recently told local reporters that he backed out of attending a CNN town hall focused on the Stoneman Douglas school shooting, claiming that his own prepared commentary was proposed by CNN to be replaced with “scripted” material.