Saturday, October 3, 2015

Would Gun Control Make our Schools Safer?

Would gun control provide additional protection against armed madmen?   Like most Americans, I'm in the middle on this issue, willing to consider it if it makes sense.  So I'm writing this blog mainly to set down in writing my own priorities and thoughts and what I struggle with.  It's not that I have any brilliant solutions or insights but as voters we all have a responsiblity to think about these serious issues, particularly in light of recent mass shootings.  I hope this blog may be helpful to one or two others, but if I'm off base I humbly ask your forgiveness. 

I am friends with the Chief of Police in a local college town in southwest Ohio, which is very conservative and church oriented.  In this town if the police are seen on school grounds, people get worried and call up to complain.  So the police try to stay away from the schools as much as possible.

Another community a few miles away is close to an Air Force base.  In that community, the police have a presence, and if there is a field trip or something, there is an armed policeman assigned to accompany each bus. They visit the school to talk about the importance of staying away from drugs and stuff.   Plus when the PTA mommies show up they wear tee shirts with school colors, and they also sometimes have a visible holster.

Both approaches have a certain appeal. I'm more  comfortable with the second approach, but I wouldn't want to force the first community to have armed persons at the school facilities if they are not wanted.    I'm comfortable with the idea of having local school authorities controlling the guns, not comfortable with having just anyone who wants to visit the school and bring guns.  

Truthfully I am scared of communities that want to shoo away the police and local authorities,while at the same time others are making it easy for crazy people to own and carry as many weapons as they want.  Let the good guys have some guns too.  

I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, but to me it seems that the Federal Government is prevented by the Second Ammendment from controlling guns.  However, the ability to have a state militia strongly implies that the States do have the right to take care of their own business.  And you can argue about it, but the Second Ammendment isn't getting changed.  That's a waste of time.   

But as a practical matter, it is more efficient to regulate the good guys and prevent them from having guns, while it is much more difficult to regulate bad guys having them.  I think the good guys will obey your gun control law even if they disagree with it, while the bad guys will not obey.  I don't see how you are really going to deny them access. 

On the other hand, some of my friends think that it is better to reduce the police force and simply encourage the rest of the population to carry guns around, figuring that that will help common sense prevail.  Presidential candidate Rick Santorum ludicrously suggested that "gun crimes were not very prevalent back then [in the Wild West days]. Why? Because people carry guns.”   Well, the fact of the matter is that that didn't work in Dodge City.  Overall death rates were low because the population was low.  But deaths per capita were high.   Self policing by gun nuts may be well intentioned, but it is a pathological dream. (Link to Washington Post Santorum article)

No, make it easy for the authorities to protect our kids.  I'd like my kids to continue to be visited by police in a classroom setting and learn to develop a trusting relationship.   I'm open to ideas smaking it difficult for crazy people to operate, but I don't know of many practical proposals for the latter. And I don't think anyone has enough political capital to really overturn the Second Amendment, that's just something to rile up the populace.


  1. In this town if the police are seen on school grounds, people get worried and call up to complain.

    Could that be due too the war on drugs?

    1. I'm sure there are a number of reasons, but my impresion is that the people get worried that something is up. They don't think that the police should just stop at the school to talk to the children. The other community has an anti-drug program (DARE) that starts in the fifth grade, in which the police come by and address the children and talk to them about drugs and what to do if someone offers to give or sell drugs. I'm not an insider, but my impression is that the police are welcome and that they help to keep kids off drugs.