The recent tragedies at Umpqua Community College and Tennessee State University in October have spurred along the long-running debate on how to adjust current gun laws.
To prove that this many shootings at schools are historically not the normal thing they have become, in the time between the shooting at Columbine in 1999 to the Sandy Hook shooting in December of 2012, there were only 16 shootings. That’s slightly more than one per year. Since Sandy Hook, there have been 142 school shootings, 46 of which have been in 2015. This is ridiculous.
Many bills have surfaced in order to fight this gun violence. This October, California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation banning concealed guns from campuses, including teachers and administrative staff. California is a rare case, as many other states are going in the opposite direction by making it easier to bring guns to campuses in order to potentially subdue an assailant in the case of another school shooting.
Texas recently made it so concealed weapons on campus will be legal as of August 2016 (surprise, surprise). Other states supporting this change and currently debating moving in this direction include Florida, Ohio and Michigan.
Similar to the recent protests at Portland State, students at the University of Texas have been protesting guns on campus, claiming feelings of un-safety. One professor even resigned due to this recent change.
I can see both sides of the debate. Both Democrats and Republicans want change. Obviously, what we are currently doing is not working.
I understand why people want to arm administrators and teachers, thinking they can defend themselves and the students and subdue a shooter—but this causes mass fear. As you can see in the examples of University of Texas and PSU, many do not feel safe with random people armed.
In the last couple of years, society has lost a lot of trust for police officers to be the only ones to have guns—and they have proper training. But do we really trust just any teacher or administrator to have a gun? Would the government actually put in appropriate funding to train teachers and staff to be able to accurately shoot an attacker in the midst of mass panic?
Due to the atrocious frequency of school shootings, it might be comforting and safer-feeling to have an armed staff, but I feel the money and time just aren’t there, and the process and actual result we would get is likely not what we are looking for in this chaos.
I do not believe many parents would feel at all comfortable sending their seven-year-old to be taught by an armed second-grade teacher. To me, that situation presents way more danger than safety.
We need change. A lot of change. The frequency of school shootings is atrocious and needs to stop. Taking guns away from security guards doesn’t seem to be the answer, and neither does arming students, staff and teachers. We need to find a middle ground—a place where everyone is safe on campus and doesn’t live in fear of whatever someone has hiding on their hip.