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Last updated: Mon. Dec. 24, 2012 - 08:47 am EDT

EDITORIAL

Why schools as gun-free zones is such a bad idea

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Police are minutes away, but seconds count in shootings.

Most of recent mass shootings in America have been in “gun-free zones.” Even in concealed-carry states, politicians seem to think it’s important to keep guns out of places like parks and schools. The appeal for the shooter is obvious: If someone is planning to produce mayhem with a weapon, why not seek out a place where no armed opposition is likely to be found? Police are at best minutes away, but seconds count when the shooting starts, so gun-free zones become shooting galleries where defenseless victims get mowed down.

The answer is obvious: Every place that has vulnerable people needs one or more responsible people who are armed. We could use off-duty police, but that could get expensive for, say, Fort Wayne Community Schools with its 31 elementary schools. So let’s consider a much easier and less expensive option: Let teachers carry guns.

That’s not quite as controversial as it sounds. The Indiana law that makes schools gun-free zones exempts anyone who has been employed or authorized by a school “to act as a security guard, perform or participate in a school function, or participate in any other activity authorized by a school.” Most security is provided by off-duty police, but it doesn’t have to be. No school district in the state has authorized teachers to be “security guards,” but they certainly could.

Obviously teachers don’t have the training police do. But they don’t have to, notes former gun shop owner and weapons instructor Larry Correia: “The teacher doesn’t need to be SWAT or a Navy SEAL. They need to be speed bumps.” The average number of people “shot in a mass shooting when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14.” The average number when the “shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5.” And the teacher is the civilian who is there.

Yes, teachers who volunteer to be armed (and it should not be mandatory; volunteers tend to be careful and trustworthy) should be vetted carefully, and they should be required to have training on the safe and proper use of firearms. That training unfortunately is not now required for concealed-carry permits in Indiana.

The school as a gun-free zone is the perfect example of why gun control is such a flawed concept. Bad people are going to continue doing bad things. All gun control does is make it harder for the good people to defend themselves against the bad people. There is a war out there, and gun control seeks to disarm the wrong side. The teachers are some of the best people, and they have our children in their care.


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