Concerned individuals throughout America and around the world are still trying to come to grips with the tragedy in Newtown shooting last week. Both sides of the long-standing “gun control” debate have dug in their heels to defend their positions and explain why more or less regulations on guns are needed.
This morning, the NRA added its recommendations to the fray of voices offering their opinions regarding what should be done. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre gave a press conference this morning where he stated, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” To address the specific issue of school safety, he asked Congress to immediately provide money to put a police officer in every school in the country.
Would putting a police officer in every single school throughout America make schools safer? Is it cost effective? Does it unnecessarily exacerbate America’s already-growing police-state, and might it introduce a number of other unfortunate, unintended consequences?
Fortunately in Utah, the “school shield” recommended by LaPierre is already (at least potentially) in place—and without needing any police officers.
Utah law allows licensed teachers and schools administrators to carry their own weapons on campus. According to the relevant statute, any authorized person can legally carry their weapon on a school campus. This means that any teacher or school staff can get a concealed weapons permit and take their gun with them to work. LaPierre was right in that we should better protect the children attending school; in Utah, this is already possible and only requires teachers and staffers to receive the proper training and permit.
While no one expects teachers and staff to be responsible for defensively shooting an intruder, having guns in the hands of trusted people on campus can provide a significant layer of protection that is currently missing. Further, it would reduce the need for an extra paid police officer to be posted on each campus. And five, ten, or fifty armed school employees would be much more able to defend students from an attack than would a single officer who may not be able to deter a threat on every part of the campus.
Bottom line, we want our kids and our families to be safe. Having our teachers and staff able to protect our children with a gun is a protection we want for our kids. We want to know that if an attacker approaches, the teacher standing at the door protecting her children can deter that threat.
Our kids deserve to be safe. Our teachers deserve the right to be able to protect their students and protect themselves.
The gun laws of Utah provide for this opportunity, and for that, Utah legislators should be applauded. Now it’s up to the rest of us to assume this responsibility and become better prepared to protect one another.
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