mr. zilla goes to town

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Letting Teachers Pack Guns Will Make America's Schools Safer

Banning guns from schools seems the obvious way to keep children safe. Utah, though, is doing the opposite, and is stirring up debate across the nation.

Acting under a new state law, school districts across Utah have started drawing up regulations allowing teachers and other public employees to carry concealed guns on school property. Opponents are still trying to fight the law, and at first glance their concern about firearms in schools is understandable. Last Sunday in New Jersey, an attack by armed teenagers against three fellow students and randomly chosen townspeople was narrowly averted.

But that's not the whole picture. Consider an analogy: Suppose a criminal is stalking you or your family. Would you feel safe putting a sign in front of your home saying, "This Home Is a Gun-Free Zone"? Law-abiding citizens might be pleased by such a sign, but to criminals it would be an invitation.

In 1985, just eight states had right-to-carry laws--laws that automatically grant permits for concealed weapons once applicants pass a criminal background check, pay their fees and, when required, complete a training class. Today, 35 states do.

This is from the American Enterprise Institute - famed fat think tank just down the street, where there were small but noisy weak left greenie protests over a debate entitled "Why America Is and Should be an Empire". Unfortunately it was quickly booked out so I couldn't get in. Unfortunately for the protesters, there was just enough about the way they conducted themselves to give people going in or past an excuse not to listen to them.

This perspective on gun control makes a sick kind of sense if you accept that the country is and always will be awash with handguns. So long as you don't think about it making all teachers into the first targets in the next Columbine. Or the risk of the occasional overworked, underpaid, tormented high school teacher getting into a postal frame of mind, with a gun already within reach. But then according to this logic, the next entirely appropriate response would be to arm the students.

I have to acknowledge though that my perspective is perhaps not aligned with reality here. Last time I looked there were more guards, more heavily armed, down in the MLK Public Library than there are here at work.


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