Are guns in schools the answer?

Photo of William T. Robinson Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

It is understandable that public feelings are running high when relating to the recent horrific and senseless massacre of 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. This diabolical killing has left a whole nation outraged and in a state of disbelief and grief. We can only pray that the families of these murdered victims find the strength to carry on. Their pain and suffering is unimaginable. There are no words that can erase the pain of this nightmare. As a nation, we can only pray for the victims’ families and assure them that their children will be remembered and hopefully some type of legislation or action can be enacted to lighten the chances of such a massacre occurring again somewhere in this country.

Mass hysteria and outrage over this brutal massacre should not prompt us to spontaneously and erratically enact preventive measures without serious thought. We must be rational in our attempts to keep our schools safe and don’t act irresponsibly putting things in place that can backfire and exacerbate an already touchy situation. While we can never honestly prevent such a tragedy such as this from happening, we can put some safeguards in place to minimize the slaughter of large numbers of innocent individuals.

This slaughter of innocent people especially in our schools has brought the country to the realization that we can no longer procrastinate in finding effective ways to protect our schools and universities. The killing of innocent individuals in schools and public places has been going on for quite a while. For the most part, many felt these were rare random acts that were a sign of the times—but were unlikely to be revisited. However, that was wishful thinking. The reality is when will this occur again and will we be ready? Better yet, how can we seriously deter such actions? God only knows. We are a long way from knowing all the answers, but we must not act impetuously because we are emotionally hurt and irate.

There are several culprits that can be identified as making it possible for something like this to happen. Lax gun control laws, poor evaluating of mentally ill individuals, and lack of highly qualified and trained armed officers in the schools are some of the major factors being blamed. There are areas to be studied in order to come up with effective ways to try to counteract or prevent future massacres. We must also understand and realize that even with all these preventive measures enforced, there is no guarantee it can’t happen again. But we can minimize the loss of life.

There are a number of people (especially legislators) entertaining the idea of training and arming teachers with guns in our schools. They should really think about what they are proposing. The more guns in the schools, the greater the possibility of more school shootings. Teachers come to school to teach students not to shoot guns. Most teachers are uncomfortable with guns. There is even the possibility that the guns teachers might have may get into the hands of troubled or ill-willed students. There is even the possibility that some teachers may be emotionally prompted to resort to firearms when provoked by agitating or disrespectful students. Therefore, you may be creating an environment likened to the Wild West. Is that what we want in our schools?

Many parents have expressed hate for the idea of firearms in our schools. But if anyone should have a gun, the compromise should be with a highly trained and licensed school officer. Guns don’t kill people. People with guns kill people. So fewer guns in the schools should minimize the probability of illicit use by people.

Most citizens adamantly believe in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. It’s a part of the United States Bill of Rights protecting the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms for self-defense—especially, as it relates to protecting themselves in their homes. However, it should not be hard to understand that many people feel taking firearms into the schools is an abusive use of that right.

The rational solution lies in stricter laws to prevent mentally ill or unsavory individuals from obtaining firearms from public and private sales without a background check. We should also look at banning the sale of military-style assault semi-automatic weapons to individuals. Military-style assault semi-automatic weapons can be argued as weapons of mass destruction.

The NRA (National Rifle Association) advocates for the rights of citizens to own or buy firearms. But is it about protection or is more about acting as lobbyists to promote gun sales—a very big business generating a lot of money? Could the real issue be lives vs. money? The NRA is working with the nation to help minimize or eradicate senseless killings in our school and public gathering places. Truly a compromise can be found in the middle. It’s all about protecting innocent people especially our young children.