Political impact
School shootings have had a political impact, spurring some to press for more stringent gun control laws. The National Rifle Association is opposed to such laws, and some groups have called for fewer gun control laws, citing cases of armed students ending shootings and halting further loss of life, and claiming that the prohibitions against carrying a gun in schools do not deter the gunmen. One such example is the Mercaz HaRav Massacre, where the attacker was not stopped by police but rather a student, Yitzhak Dadon, who stopped the attacker by shooting him with his personal firearm which he lawfully carried concealed. At a Virginia law school, there is a disputed claim that two students retrieved pistols from their cars and stopped the attacker without firing a shot. Also, at a Mississippi high school, the Vice Principal retrieved a firearm from his vehicle and then eventually stopped the attacker as he was driving away from the school. In other cases, such as shootings at Columbine and Red Lake High Schools, the presence of an armed police officer did nothing to prevent or shorten the shootings.

A ban on the ownership of handguns was introduced in the United Kingdom (with the exception of Northern Ireland) following the Dunblane massacre.

Armed classrooms
For years, some areas in the US have allowed "armed classrooms" to deter (or truncate) future attacks, presumably by changing helpless victims into armed defenders. In 2008, Harrold Independent School District in Texas became the first public school district in the U.S. to allow teachers with state-issued firearm-carry permits to carry their arms in the classroom; special additional training and ricochet-resistant ammunition were required for participating teachers. Students at the University of Utah have been allowed to carry concealed pistols (so long as they possess the appropriate state license) since a State Supreme Court decision in 2006.

A commentary in the conservative National Review Online argues that the armed school approach for preventing school attacks, while new in the US, has been used successfully for many years in Israel and Thailand. Teachers and school officials in Israel are allowed and encouraged to carry firearms if they have former military experience in the IDF, which almost all do. However, statistics on what percentage of teachers are actually armed are unavailable.