When I first started this letter, it was mid way through 2022. We had seen a few mass shootings. Now in March 2023, we saw a well publicized school shooting in Nashville, TN. As predictable as the anti-gun groups are they started preaching and pushing for more gun control. This is commonplace after any major incident where the attacker uses a firearm. There are many holes in the “logic” of the anti-gun rhetoric. Every time we see a mass shooting, we see more and more evidence to abolish Gun Free Zones.
Gun Free Zones were established to prohibit the carry and possession of firearms inside a primary or secondary school zone. The intent was to prevent mass killing in a school, but by enacting these zones the lawmakers did exactly the opposite. Many lawmakers forget that criminals by their very nature do not follow laws or social norms. By putting Gun Free Zones in place, it prevented the potential of law-abiding concealed carriers from possession firearms in a school zone and criminal are aware of this fact. Lawful concealed carriers have been able to save lives and stop attacks all over our country. Just one example would be the incident at the Park City Mall in Lancaster Pennsylvania.
A physical sign posted with no enforcement is not a deterrent to an individual intent on doing harm to a vulnerable group of people. While a “Gun Free Zone” sign provides little to no protection for the occupants of the property, an opposing sign does serve as a deterrent. Many homeowners post a security system sign outside their residents. Schools could easily post a sign advertising their staff is armed and trained or a sign to boast a well trained security force on site.
A mass shooter or any potential predator is looking for a soft target or easy victim. Typically an attacker does not want or expect resistance, they are looking for instant fame and many feel like the attack will provide revenge for a perceived wrong done to them. This fame is given to them by the mainstream media. The media is in some ways responsible for breeding new mass shooters, as well. Typically, our leftist media outlets blast the shooters name out to the world, how many people were killed and how the shooter acquired the gun. What the media should be announcing is that the incident could never have happened if the location was not a gun free zone.
A significant portion of mass shootings occur in Gun Free Zones or private establishments that post signs to prohibit firearms on site. Seeing as though those zones do not achieve their original purpose it is time to consider another solution to school shootings or mass shootings in general.
Our society puts a significant amount of effort in placing security at airports, banks, jewelry stores, federal buildings, and social events. We fail to place that same level of security at schools, where our future generations spend most of their day during the school year. It is time we consider reallocating financial resources of our school budgets and use that to fund a proper security plan to protect our children at all levels.
During an active shooter situation or any attack, the first thing anyone does, despite their stance on guns, is call individuals with guns to stop the incident. It has been said that “the duration of a mass shooting depends on the arrival of the second gun”. Why is it so difficult to acknowledge that having individuals in place at a school with firearms would prevent mass shootings, or at very least shorten the duration of the attack?
Establishing a Security team at schools would be very in depth and multi-faceted. A well-funded and trained team is necessary. This team could be a group of contracted agents or additional law enforcement officers from the local PD. Another option would be to contract private companies to provide security for schools. Some companies utilize prior military members in the community that have some level of security training. These individuals could be vetted and hired to fill the team needed to secure schools. No matter the nature of the team they need to be well trained and on constant contact with local and state authorities.
Many parents and private citizens may argue that they do not want schools looking like a prison. Not all security teams have to appear overly militant. A solution could be having the on-site security team operate in plain clothes. There are plenty of sporting events and concerts that have their security team go unnoticed.
While many school districts could not afford this type of security there is another potential option. Educators and administrators know their schools extremely well and would know if any situation is abnormal. Those individuals that are willing to take on the responsibility of security could be a good resource. While their main role is being a teacher, they could be used to deter potential attackers. If an attacker knows members of the teaching and administrative staff have access to firearms and are well trained, they will be less likely to choose that school as a target.
Training for these teachers would be extremely important. Basic and advanced firearms training would be needed. As usual these teachers would be working as a team, but in this case, to stop a threat. Concepts such as medical training and conflict resolution would have to be in the curriculum. By nature, many teachers are heavily invested in the safety of their students. The investment of a portion of a school budget going to training and security will be well worth it. These options and the removal of Gun Free Zones need to be considered to protect our future generations in schools and many other locations.
All of this being said, more firearms restriction is not the answer in order to halt or hinder mass shootings. Evil people will still attempt to commit acts of violence on innocent people and our youth. As good, morale people, we need to show that we are willing to stand up to the potential threat of violence by being ready and not reactive. Any of the above security plans could work depending on funding available. Also, each plan could be augmented with signage and camera systems. These plans could be implemented in Pennsylvania or any other state in our nation.
It is my and many other Americans’ hope that law makers on both sides of the isle will be willing to help provide better options for public security and school safety. As I stated earlier, heavier restriction on law-abiding citizens will not help curtail criminal actions. In contrast it may be beneficial to many people on both sides of the firearm issue to provide open forums and maybe funding for training. Some citizens to not have access to funds for excessive training. Education has the potential to fix many misconceptions and erase many knee-jerk reactionary plans that wouldn’t be helpful.
It is well beyond time for us to stand up and face the fact that danger is always out there. We need to normalize good people taking proactive measures to stop and deter the actions of evil, misguided people. We cannot sit back and pretend that evil doesn’t exist. Please consider the options above in the future conversations. Thank you for your time.