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Larry Sand
No Guns in School? « Back to Story

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There seem to be people you believe we can per protected from harm, whether it is a car, a gun, or my choice of weapon if my wife or child were viloent hurt or killed by an ididvidual: Mouth wide open on a concrete curb fllowed by a severe stomp on the pack of the head.

Having said that I would guess that most anti gun members of our society's first thought is I am a wacko. Few thought of outlawing concrete curbs.

I hope my point is self evident. With the exception of catastrophic event, people are generally responsible for most of the ills of our society. Guns, swimming pools, and curbs are only dangerous when misdeed by people.

If people want to be exposed to the values of most gun owners, take a hunters safety class. The attitude is safety, safety, safety......Caution, caution....

The civics lesson on gun ownership goes to the Declaration of Independence, then to the 2nd Amendment. Currently the Patriot Act is in conflict with the Declaration of Independence.

Thanks to the internet, we can easily export our ignorance to Europe and they seem as equally unquestioning as Americans about gun control. Take the “right to bear arms” for example. American academics claim our American colonialists didn’t own firearms, they were neither common nor widely found among colonial households.

But the English have only themselves to credit for inspiring the Second Amendment due to a certain General Gage. After Lexington and Concord, Gage, being an intelligent general, ordered Bostonians to turn in their firearms, both those loyal subjects of the King and any upstart revolutionaries. Hundreds of firearms were turned over to Gage’s men, despite the fact colonialists supposedly owned few firearms. Wily General Gage promised to return these confiscated firearms to the good people of Boston once the hostilities were under control, but that was never his intent. And, by the way, the modern day scions of Boston would like these firearms returned, United Kingdom folks. Handmade flintlocks from master gunsmiths of that era are worth thousands today, so please cough em’ up.

And the NRA is the official boogeyman of gun control, both here and in the UK. But during World War II, the NRA collaborated with the New York Times (if that isn’t extremely weird) to request that Americans donate any unneeded firearms to the good people of England. They had formed a British Home Guard and due to decades of strict gun control across the pond, privately owned firearms were scarce and sorely needed to repel a possible German invasion of their homeland. Interestingly, the Home Guard sounds strangely similar to a “militia” which many Brits believe is laughable in this modern era.
Guns are no deterrent for the type of criminals who almost invariably end up killing themselves after their spree is over or committing 'suicide by cop' and intentionally letting themselves be killed.

The idea of promoting guns in schools stems from a warped perspective. Effective gun control would be a far more rational and powerful force to prevent terrible events such as those mentioned in the article.
response to Marc Brenman: the first couple of items are OK.. too often, mentally unstable people are not reported to NICS....Lanza, the Aurora shooter, the VA Tech shooter, and both Columbine shooters. BUT.. bear in mind a few things.. Lanza was not lawfully allowed to possess ANY of those weapons, as he stole them. Further, he never would have lawfully had the two handguns concealed upon his person, carried them in public, nor lawfully been able to purchast them in Connecticut. He was only 20, too young for any of those. Same with the two perps at COlumbine. Too young to possess handguns. So, any FFL purchase for these would have been a DENY code.

Further, not one weapon used in a mass shooting from Columbine onward was obtained at a gun show. FBI stats show less than one percent of crime guns were so obtained. More, the "military style" weapons you demonise and wish to outlaw have, statistically, been lawfully obtained and subsequently used in mass killings exactly as often as a standard carpenter's claw hammer has been used in mass killings. I believe the REAL reason so many demonise these weapons and want them banned is simply that they are the MOST COMMONLY OWNED class of firearms in this country... so, a ban on them would OH SO CONVENIENTLY remove a huge percentage of arms from the American public.

Do not compare our situation with that of the Aussies, who foolishly bought a bill of false goods and willingly surrendered their arms. ALso, note that violent crimes in Oz and the UK have skyrocketed since the public were disarmed, whilst here in the US, as gun purchaases and more sane laws concerning possession and carrying have increased, violent crime has decreased.
As to suicide, if someone truly wants to end their life, lack of a gun will not prevent it. Bridges, cars, knives, matches, etc, are all very effective, and commonly used, means of terminating one's life. Do NOT propose the infringement of MY rights because of occasional misuse of the tool by those already mentally deficient enough to want to end their own lives.

As to your figures of gun usage in violence... they do not square with FBI or CDC figures. Further, privately held firearms are used at least a million times per year to stop violent crimes.. WITHOUT even firing them. Consider that, since FBI figures show the most feared element of violent crime for perpetrators is the possibility of finding an armed victim, removing this very effectivge deterrent from the public sector will certainly, as it factually has done in Australia and the UK, precede a radical increase in such violent crime.

Stick to the laws we have... EVERY ONE of these mass shootings was committed only after the perp violaing a number of gun control laws.. in Lanza's case, somewhere above two or three dozen. NOT ONE of those people observed the gun laws already in place. So, what hope do any of your further, and expensive, restrictions hold to ACTUALLY make any difference? None of the exising gun laws that were violated in every one of these mass shootings stopped the incident, did they? What delusion gives you hope any of your proposals will WORK when existing restrictions failed? Consider, further, that somewhere near a hundred million law abiding American gun owners, in full control over their own personal weapons, did NOT shoot up a school or anythign else yestarday. You would impose even MORE regulations, permits, registries, limitations, requirements, on us when on average some point zero zero zero zero zero zero percent of guns owned in the US were used unlawfully yesterday? Now, consider the unlawful use of, say, motor vehicles as a percentage ot the total owned...... you are crafting a HUGE straw man and demanding we ALL bow down to your plan to "deal" with it. It is straw..... forget it. Enable existing law abiding citizens to carry our own firearms in these schools. I have, in the past week, driven about a thousand miles, shopped in three malls, four coffee houses, gotten fuel at five stations, been to three banks, two restaurants, two community dances, two grocery stores, Costco, two liquor stores, a bike shop, and didn't even take my handgun out of its holster. What makes you think I'll do that, and do something illegal with it, tomorrow? Get real.
and I agree, but favour a rather different scenario: repeal the Federal Gin Free School Zones act entirely. This would allow states to deal with it, and education is NOT a federal issue per the Constitution. Next, allow any and all law abiding citizens already lawfully carrying their own personal firearms inn banks, theatrea, malls, restaurants, parks, buses, coffee houses, etc to ALSO carry them in schools. Now, anny teacher or administrator or janitor who wishes will be able to carry at their place of employment. Who else cares more for their own student charges than those already laying down their lives daily for them> Had that first teacher Lanza approached been armed and skilled, how differently that day could have played out. What if, rather than leading lined of frightened students to the "safety" of the principal's office, a teacher in a neighbouring classroom, on hearing the shots, could have come running, her own handgun at the ready, to take out this perp if the first teacher had not been usccessful? Further, consider that, had Lanza been faced with the very real possibility that at least ONE of the adults at that school COULD habe been lawfully armed to resist him, he may well have decided to go do something else stupid. No, but he KNEW, absolutely, that NONE of the people he'd face there could possibly have been armed. Open season, no limit, no rules. THAT is what must end if our children are to be "safe". La Pierre is way off base proposing visible and obvious designated "guards", at federal taxpayer expense, be staged at every school. Partly because it is NOT in the purview of FeedGov to so do, but more because, had there been the one designated )and easily identifiable_ guard at Sandy Hook, it would have been a simple matter to watch for him and enter the school building when he was not in that part of it. We al;ready HAVE a veritable army of responnsible, skilled, honest, law abiding people armed and in position to defend our school children. LET them do it. WHY do we place a higher moral value on a dead teacher and principal and some twenty dead children than we place on an armed and prepared responsible adult to be on hand and able to defend not ony herself but her charges? This is stupidity. La Pierre is spot on when he declares the best means of stopping a bad guy with a gun (such as Adam Lanza) is a good guy with a gun (such as that teacher, or the principal, both now dead and utterly unable to help or protect anyone). WHY do we continue to construct THIS scenario?
Flashback: Bill Clinton Requests $60 Million to Put Cops in Schools
Steve Nickse:

Now, there's an intelligent, well-thought-out comment!

What specifically is stupid? Why won't it work? Have you given any serious thought to your comments? If so, please share it with us in order to advance the discussion in an intelligent way.

A wise man once told me, "Better to keep quiet and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt!"


You're right, you can't ask most people basic questions these days. They don't like having their lack of intelligent thought being exposed. Unfortunately there are more of them than there are rational people. I blame poor teaching and parenting for this, and I doubt that this situation will get better, at least in the near term, and possibly in the long term.

The sad part is that it's these people who will get hurt the most by the country's current problems and misguided, ineffective attempts to solve them. By the time they figure this out, it may be too late for them...
Why would a Quaker school have armed guards?

Oh well, it doesn't matter, because you can't even ask Democrats basic, human questions these days.

Oh, and Adam Lanza and James Holmes were a message.

If you try to do to Communist and Islamist finance what Morris Dees did to the Klan and the Aryan Nation, tragedy won't happen to your family. A member of your family will perpetrate a tragedy.

There's a reason you can find classified/restricted materials like CIA manuals at any college campus if you look hard enough.

Oh, and there is no such thing as "mental illness", you bigot. Its called the "new normal" now.
That's just stupid. It won't work.
Personally, I don't like guns.

Having said that, I do believe in the Second Ammendment because it's obvious that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns -- and the outlaws would know that law-abiding citizens don't have them, so they would be much more likely to commit gun-related crimes. I don't believe any rational-thinking person could sensibly argue with this logic, although admittedly there are a lot of irrational-thinking people here in the US -- another problem entirely.

Having said that, there is no reason for citizens to have assault weapons designed for the sole purpose of killing large numbers of people, so it would certainly make sense for those types of guns to be banned for the general public (i.e. only military use).

Generally speaking I can see why people might be uncomfortable with having armed guards in schools. Having said that, if I had kids in school, I would want either armed guards or armed teachers there -- or both. While it's clearly not a perfect solution, one can't reasonably argue that it wouldn't be a deterrent for at least some would-be killers, and it would most likely minimize injury and death in the worst case.
Larry, if the rest of your "reporting" is as bad as your bit about La Pierre's plan, you ought to think of a career change. La Pierre said that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. He went on to say that there were MULTIPLE WAYS of achieving that. In Utah they are encouraging teachers to get carry concealed permits and carry guns on campus. The NRA is the largest trainer of firearms users, so it is happy to train your "volunteers". Of course, you rich elitists can hire that out, like you do everything else, but that's expensive. Not as expensive as the other things that the Feds do. (Probably cheaper than giving F-16's to the Muslim Brotherhood.)

But the idea that there is only one way to put armed "good guys" in schools is just another Leftwing media LIE! And you just repeated it.
I read that Bill Clinton, President during the Columbine shootings, proposed federal funding for the same thing, and a program was established and ocntinues to this day. I read about it in the LA Times and there was not a hint of anger from the same people who went crazy and pretended that what La Pierre was proposing was somethinng beyond the pale.

Strangely, even major news organizations like NPR and the other alphabets missed this. Even stranger is the fact that they didn't miss it when Clinton made the proposal.
"In 2000, President Clinton marked the one-year anniversary of Columbine by proposing a significant expansion of the government's existing "COPS in Schools" program. Now that the National Rifle Association's Mr. LaPierre has made a similar proposal, he is being ridiculed. Why?" Robert Bernatt
@Mark Brenman

Nice plan, Stalin.
The only reason the left doesn't want to admit that allowing armed citizens to protect our schools is the quick, logical answer, is that it would ruin their attempt to use the tragedy to disarm the American public.
1. Spend another $8-billion to put a minimum number of armed guards at schools.

2. Adopt the Australian National Firearms Agreement standards.

Implementation of the Aussie NFA included doing a buy-back of all militarized weapons. So be it.

And yes, amending the 2nd Amendment to restrict firearm rights to nonmilitarized weapons would be a likely part of the process. What do you love more: your modern guns or American men, women and children ? Here's the Aussies' NFA:

• Banning military style automatic and semi-automatic firearms;
• Limiting the availability of non-military style semi-automatic rifles and shotguns to primary producers, professional vermin exterminators, and a limited class of clay target firearm users;
• Introducing registration for all firearms, including longarms;
• Grouping firearms into 5 broad licensing categories;
• Requiring all licence applicants to establish a genuine reason for firearms ownership;
• Requiring all licence applicants other than those applying for category A firearms to establish that they have a special need for the particular category of firearm;
• Requiring that permits be acquired for every new firearm purchase, with the issue of a permit to be subject to a waiting period of at least 28 days to enable appropriate checks to be made;
• Stricter storage requirements for all firearms; and
• Requiring all sales to be conducted by or through licensed firearms dealers.

I am a veteran, not an NRA-loving, gun-sucking, baby killer pervert. I do know as a fact that the single largest use for "home protection" guns in America is suicide. 15,000 times a year. Followed by familial homicides at the many 1,000s a year. Gun-as-safety-tool in cities and suburbs is at best an ignorant fantasy.

An Assault weapon is classified by the US Military as a weapon with selective fire. Thus with the capability to switch to Full Auto. A rifle without Selective fire is NOT an assault rifle---just a Rifle.

Armed School Police Departments are very common in California, but generally do not have the number of officers to cover all of their schools (not even close).

Some monster, killing children at school is a "war zone," and the most effective way to fight a war is to have "boots on the ground." For the school setting, those "boots" would be teachers, or other adult employees with the proper training and desire to effectively step into the "arena" created by those monsters. I know it's not what a teacher signed up for, but it has come to this.

As has been seen in most of these mass shooting scenes, the presence of one "good guy" with a gun, deters further atrocities when the bad guy is confronted. Several cower away and kill themselves (Connecticut, Oregon, New York).

This is absolutely a sad predicament, but reality as well.
Excellent article, Larry. Those that want to commit mayhem on school children will do so regardless of laws. There are no guns in China, yet thousands of children are slaughtered with knives or swords.
Even the thought of an armed presence can act as a deterrent, as Mr. Sand points out.

As an aside, I was almost surprised at the reaction to the NRA's suggestion of armed guards at schools. After all, as has been pointed out, some schools already have armed guards. I believe one district in the Sacramento area even has it's own police department (Twin Rivers?).

I included almost because it should be no surprise that many people react hysterically to issues involving guns.
"Being a European, I am absolutely against arms"

Oh please. Lots of us Europeans are not "absolutely against arms", I assure you.

Fr..James Loiacono, OMI:
"Citizens of the USA are profoundly pragmatic and not given over to ideological rant."

I agree that they're quite pragmatic, but I thoroughly disagree about them not being "given over to ideological rant". Being the latter is, in fact, often quite pragmatic in certain respects. I'm not your country, but this is the picture I've gotten.

"Why has our society devolved to this mayhem without precedence? Talk to the youth. The culture has become toxic for them, and the least stable and most alienated are wreaking havoc from internal issues that are untethered from human social connectedness and pathological issues. IT WAS NOT LIKE THIS BEFORE."

From what I've read, your society was actually more like that before, and gun violence has been slowly but steadily going down in your society.
Being a European, I am absolutely against arms, but, due to your 2nd amendment, you cannot undo the situation and recuperate the millions of arms. So, there is but one solution left: more arms. Even if you screen the whole school population in the US, you cannot prevent a lunatic commiting such an act. There is always a % of unbalanced people in a society and mostly they are intelligent and do not show their frustrations.
Fr..James Loiacono, OMI December 29, 2012 at 1:15 AM
While I admittedly don't the solution, as head of a school, I have several retired law enforcement people offer to patrol our school for free. I've felt badgered by those shrill voices opposing such a solution, but what is the alternative to dead children and staff? Larry Sand's article is measured and sane. Citizens of the USA are profoundly pragmatic and not given over to ideological rant.
Yet, both sides are offering solutions that only deal with the symptoms, not with the deeper issue. Why has our society devolved to this mayhem without precedence? Talk to the youth. The culture has become toxic for them, and the least stable and most alienated are wreaking havoc from internal issues that are untethered from human social connectedness and pathological issues. IT WAS NOT LIKE THIS BEFORE. We won't face it, because we don't want the changes we must make to make it so. Thus, we will continue to suffer heart wrenching loss.
Guns may be the only solution at this point, but a pox on all our houses for not facing the truth of the disease.
A Plan in Response to the Connecticut Shootings

Here are some elements of a plan in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy and other similar mass murders committed with guns in the US. Each of these has some value, and together would have great value. Some elements are derived from others.

by Marc Brenman

• Ensure state compliance with requirements to post appropriate mental health records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System
• Establish clear reporting guidelines for when and how mental health records are required to be posted in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System so that states can be held accountable for compliance
• Require a full background check in all gun transactions, including private sales at gun shows and online purchases
• Fully fund state technology efforts to comply with the federal background check system requirements
• Require states to comply fully with the protocols of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System or threatening to take away their federal funding
• Mandate federal compliance with a presidential executive order directing all agencies to submit records to this instant background check system
• Prohibit the manufacture, sale and purchase of assault weapons and outlawing high-capacity bullet magazines, very large amounts of ammunition, and bullets which have the sole purpose of causing great bodily injury. Define “assault weapons” better and more specifically. Include fully automatic rifles and semi-automatic rifles and semi-automatic handguns.

Mandatory training on gun safety for gun owners and users. Tie this requirement to federal funding of states. If there is no such training, then a withdrawal or deferral of federal funding occurs. Life, health and homeowner insurance companies deny any injury or liability claims caused by unregistered weapons/ammo owned by the claimant, or if the gun owner failed to take the requisite training.

Mandatory trigger locks and gun safes for gun owners. Installation of gun cabinets may improve gun and ammunition storage practices. Financial assistance to gun owners, such as tax incentives, can be provided to gun owners for this purpose.

Technological fixes so that only the registered owner can shoot the gun.

Create and make more severe the penalties for using a gun while drinking alcohol, as well as for using a gun while on certain medications known by medical experts to cause agitated or aggressive behavior.

Make gun trafficking a federal crime, with stiff penalties for those who arm criminals.

Fully fund mental health services. Fund these services through a special tax on guns, ammunition, and permits dedicated to mental health screening, counseling, and services. Instituting and expanding programs that work through schools to identify and help students with issues, helping families with at risk children, and adults with crisis counseling might help create a safer environment.
Ensure access to mental health care, including treatment and medication
Provide annual mental health screenings in schools, as is often done for vision, hearing, and dental issues. Maintain confidentiality as necessary, but don’t let confidentiality requirements interfere with provision of necessary services.
Remove the requirement that youth under age 18 must consent to mental health treatment. Instead, make provisions in case this is not possible: require that a parent/ guardian must consent to the treatment and a mental health professional who has knowledge of the case and an unrelated professional such as a teacher, pediatrician, etc. For example, a 13 year old mentally ill person may or may not consent to treatment. However, they are still likely living with a parent/ guardian.
Provide other options for mentally ill youth and adults who are returning to the community (often a parent or relative's home) after in-treatment or institutionalized care.
Provide more opportunities for respite for parents of children with mental illness. Include insurance coverage for this type of care. Help provide infrastructure, care and support to maintain the mental health of the parent/ guardian caring for the child.
The military, VHA, and wider medical community should create a trusted mechanism for safely removing and temporarily storing firearms on a patient's behalf with his/her consent.

The issue of guns should be linked to the issue of suicide prevention. Access to firearms is a risk factor for suicide. Firearms used in youth suicide usually belong to a parent.
Reducing access to lethal means saves lives.

Nurses and other emergency department personnel in hospital emergency rooms should provide "Lethal means counseling." This means:
assessing whether a person at risk for suicide has access to a firearm or other lethal means, and
working with them and their family and support system to limit their access until they are no longer feeling suicidal. Psychiatrists should also provide such counseling in their practices. Among families of high risk youth, those who received the counseling were significantly more likely than those who had not to remove or secure the dangerous items. Others who come into contact with suicidal people should also provide such counseling.

Improve the social safety net generally, so that fewer people fall through the cracks.

Tighten rules for mandatory reporters, so that more people with violent potential come to the attention of law enforcement.

Restore funding for the Community Oriented Policing (COPS) program, to put more police back in communities.

Gun enthusiasts police other gun enthusiasts, and learn to notice and act on signs of potential violence. For example, firearm retailers and range owners, can help prevent suicide by

Using guidelines with gun store/firing range owners about how to avoid selling or renting a firearm to a suicidal customer

Encouraging gun stores and firing ranges to display and distribute suicide, anger, and violence prevention materials tailored to their customers, including materials, resources, and hotline telephone numbers and websites.
Strengthen product liability laws, so that gun manufacturers have at least some liability for the damage that their guns do. Congress enacted a law in 2005 that gives gun manufacturers and dealers broad immunity from being sued. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) shields the gun industry. This law should be rescinded. Before the PLCAA, lawsuits were starting to prod the gun industry to act more responsibly. In 2000, Smith & Wesson, the nation’s largest handgun manufacturer, agreed to a variety of safety conditions to end lawsuits that threatened to put it in bankruptcy. Among other things, Smith & Wesson agreed to put a second, hidden set of serial numbers on all of its new guns to make it harder for criminals to scratch away the identifying markings. But the PLCAA took away the pressure to work on safety.
Gun holders should be required to purchase additional liability insurance to cover gun incidents that cause harm to themselves and other. Proof of insurance should be provided as a condition to purchase a gun. The analogy is to car insurance.
Institutional investors should divest from gun manufacturers.
In the absence of rules governing the design of firearms, regulating the way guns are advertised may be a useful public health intervention. Some gun advertisements include messages suggesting that bringing a handgun into the home is generally protective for the occupants of the home. The best available scientific information contradicts this message. Given this disjunction, regulating those advertisements may be an appropriate response. Under federal law, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has authority to prohibit advertisements that are "deceptive" or "unfair." Under the FTC's deception analysis, the focus is on whether consumers are misled by an advertisement. For a finding of unfairness, the FTC looks for advertisements that may cause substantial injury to consumers. Under either analysis, a strong argument can be made that firearm advertisements promising home protection are unlawful.
Broaden the discussion beyond mental health to include evil people, and learn to recognize the signs of evil.

Increase the understanding of school and college officials, so that they don't hide behind the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) in mistakenly thinking they can't do anything about potentially violent students. Similarly, increase the understanding of HIPAA (the health care privacy act), so that practitioners understand that it doesn't mean that potentially violent patients can be ignored or hidden.

Establish a National Institute of Violence Prevention at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research root causes and community solutions. We should fund the Centers for Disease Control to develop its infrastructure so it can track, assess and develop strategies to prevent gun violence, just as we do with tainted spinach and influenza. Currently NIH is prohibited by statute from covering gun violence as a public health problem.

Overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, so that the influence of big donors will be decreased in politics. This will reduce the pernicious influence of the NRA and arms manufacturers, which are distorting the possibility of good legislation.

Shift to more of a public health emphasis, and encourage passive safety elements, similarly to the way car safety has been approached. People still have lots and lots of cars, but each car is much safer.

Use buy-back programs for guns.

FBI documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) under the Freedom of Information Act show that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did "not condone the use of violence" at occupy protests. Using similar criteria, extreme gun enthusiasts could be similarly surveilled, monitored, and reported on. In fact, extreme gun enthusiasts, because they possess guns, espouse a willingness to use them, and give as a reason protection from an allegedly oppressive government, provide even greater reasons for FBI scrutiny of them. This would help provide early warning of potential mass murders using guns.

There is one thing I am certain of ~ The states (even California) can address this whole matter far more effectively than the federal government.

Rest assured that whatever comes out of Washington will have no positive impact, and probably result in more children being killed.
The fact that California chooses to enact any given policy is a good reason why the rest of this country should take the exact opposite approach.