The recent tragedy in Newtown, CT has raised the possibility of more gun control laws being enacted. Given that most guns used in violent crimes aren’t legally obtained in the first place, additional restrictions on gun ownership would primarily impact law-abiding citizens.
Conservative Arkansas supporter Tim Martens took it upon himself to send a letter to his state legislator addressing self defense in America’s schools and what can be done to promote our children’s safety in the face of an armed threat. Martens points out the failure of “Gun Free Zones” and suggests an alternate approach. The body of the letter follows.
I need your help. Arkansas children and public employees need your help.
My wife and I work for a school district. It is a target-rich environment with a myriad of opportunities each day for troubled people to wreak violence. Rather than wring our hands and dither – saying that there is nothing we can do except work to limit access to the buildings, I prefer to consider options that work. Take a look at some recent history regarding successful defense during attacks at schools and public places:
• A 1997 high school shooting in Pearl, Miss., was halted by the school’s vice principal after he retrieved the Colt .45 he kept in his truck.
• A 1998 middle school shooting ended when a man living next door heard gunfire and apprehended the shooter with his shotgun.
• A 2002 terrorist attack at an Israeli school was quickly stopped by an armed teacher and a school guard.
• A 2002 law school shooting in Grundy, Va., came to an abrupt conclusion when students carrying firearms confronted the shooter.
• A 2007 mall shooting in Ogden, Utah, ended when an armed off-duty police officer intervened.
• A 2009 workplace shooting in Houston, Texas, was halted by two coworkers who carried concealed handguns.
• A 2012 church shooting in Aurora, Colo., was stopped by a member of the congregation carrying a gun.
• At the recent mall shooting in Portland, Ore., the gunman took his own life minutes after being confronted by a shopper carrying a concealed weapon.
When our nation’s air transportation was threatened with terrorism, not only did U.S. Marshalls start riding airplanes, but qualified pilots were permitted to carry firearms on planes.
We live in an age where seconds mean the difference between life and death, yet in most cases the police are six minutes or more away.
Respected gun writer Massad Ayoob suggests in his editorial “Against Monsters” that teachers and students should be trained and ready if an attack takes place.
“If we simply prepared teachers to handle this type of crisis the way we teach them to handle fires and medical emergencies, the death toll would drop dramatically. We don’t hear of mass deaths of children in school fires these days: fire drills have long since been commonplace, led by trained school staff, not to mention sprinkler systems and smoke alarms and strategically placed fire extinguishers that can nip a blaze in the bud while firefighters are en route. In the past, if someone “dropped dead,” people would cry and wring their hands and wail, “When will the ambulance get here?” Today, almost every responsible adult knows CPR; most schools have easily-operated Automatic Electronic Defibrillators readily accessible; and a heart attack victim’s chance of surviving until the paramedics arrive to take over is now far greater … The same principle works for defending against mass murders.” http://backwoodshome.com/blogs/MassadAyoob/2012/12/15/against-monsters/
This idea is also reinforced by the Gun Owners of America in its recent editorial, “They Have Blood on Their Hands”
“In addition to the gunman, blood is on the hands of members of Congress and the Connecticut legislators who voted to ban guns from all schools in Connecticut (and most other states). They are the ones who made it illegal to defend oneself with a gun in a school when that is the only effective way of resisting a gunman… We must tell our elected officials that they are acting as the criminals’ friends as long as they continue to support legislation that only protects criminals, not decent people.” http://gunowners.org/a12152012.htm
Quite simply, “gun free zones” are a lethal, false security that enable mass murder. “Gun free zones” should be properly labeled as “Killing Zones” because that is what they are.
The State of Arkansas requires children to attend school — Compulsory education is the law. The State needs to step up to the responsibility of protecting the children for whom they have assumed the status of “in loco parentis.”
The Arkansas Legislature needs to take action to mitigate future attacks within Arkansas. We must have laws that permit teachers and school employees who have concealed weapons permits to bear arms on campus. The lives of our children and public employees are at risk.
Please act decisively to permit our teachers and school employees not only to defend their own lives but to defend the lives of the precious children whose parents have placed their trust in the State.