Another NRA-backed, bonehead idea has passed the Missouri legislature. On the last day of the 2014 session, the Missouri legislature passed a bill that would authorize school districts to allow selected teachers to keep guns in their classrooms. The identities of the selected teachers would be kept secret, presumably to make it harder for intruders to know who to kill first, and to enable teachers to be surprise heroes.
According to the Kansas City Star:
Under the Missouri legislation, a school board seeking school protection officers would hold public hearings but then could act behind closed doors. Teachers or administrators would apply to the superintendent, submit to a background check, show proof of a conceal carry permit and completion of a school protection officer training program.
Parents would NOT have to be notified as to which teachers are carrying. I’ve put that in bold type, because it is such a shocking aspect of this bill.
What’s wrong with this thinking? Let me count the ways:
-All the the regulations and ostensible safeguards won’t guarantee that a teacher would be in the right place at the right time to prevent gun violence. And, by the way, don’t teachers have enough responsibility as it is? Do they need to be armed cops, too?
-As a parent, I would absolutely want to know if my child’s teacher had a concealed weapon in his/her classroom, and I would absolutely want my child transferred out of that classroom. Under this law, parents would be kept in the dark, as schools put their children at risk.
-The risks of having a concealed weapon in a classroom would far outweigh the so-called advantages. We have all read the sad stories that show how many children are injured or killed every year in accidents involving guns ostensibly kept for self-defense. The likelihood of a classroom invasion by a “bad guy” is much smaller than the likelihood of a child discovering the teacher’s gun and pulling the trigger.
-More guns are not the answer. We have enough guns. Passing a bill that adds more guns in more public places does not make anyone—especially our children–safer. The argument touted by the NRA—that the “only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”—is not about safety, it’s about selling more guns and ammo. How about: The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is for people not to have access to so many guns. You can put as many locks on classroom doors as you want; you can limit visitors to your school; and you can have a lockdown drill every week, if you want. But as long as people have easy access to guns—and use them for what they are designed to do—there’s going to be gun violence. Bottom line: We need fewer guns and less access to them, not laws that expand gun ownership and turn schools into armed camps.
Did I mention that this bill also lowers the age limit for concealed carry permits from 21 to 19, and that is prohibits health care workers from asking patients whether they have access to a firearm, even if the person shows signs of mental illness?
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has not yet signed this gun-crazy bill. He—and, I think, most of the people who voted for this misbegotten idea—must know, deep down, that it’s the wrong thing to do—but they’re all so afraid of the NRA that they just go along. Let’s hope that Governor Nixon stands up for sanity and vetoes it.
UPDATE: September 11, 2014: Nixon vetoed the bill. But today, the Missouri legislature has over-riden Gov. Nixon’s veto.