‘Gun-free’ school zones do not deter attackers

Another school shooting; 32 innocent lives snuffed out senselessly. How many more kids have to die a violent death before we correct our faulty thinking behind laws that hamper the innocent and enable murderers?

While the intent behind the Gun-Free School Zones Act may be good, the results are highly questionable. Clearly, the law has not prevented bad guys with guns from entering a school zone and doing harm. Quite the opposite – it has guaranteed that our schools are completely vulnerable and defenseless, so that those who are bent on destruction can be certain that when they enter a school zone and start shooting, no one will shoot back.

The Gun-Free School Zones Act has disarmed and crippled the good guys while giving the bad guys extra ammunition and a level of protection they wouldn’t get anywhere else.

When is the last time some deranged lunatic broke into a police station and started shooting everyone inside? How often are gun stores held up by armed robbers? When is the last time someone was assaulted or held hostage at a shooting range? Contrast the answers to these questions with the answer to this: When was the last time someone was shot in a gun-free zone … and the time before that … and the time before that?

What if we were to place some doubt in an attacker’s mind about the level of security inside a school? What if we removed the assurance that there are no guns and no one trained to use them inside? What if we were to place a big sign in front of our schools that reads: “School employees are legally armed and trained in the use of weapons and defense at their own discretion.”

No, I’m not suggesting that we start bluffing about school security. Nor am I suggesting that we heavily arm every teacher and administrator and place the burden of responsibility for security on their shoulders. What I am suggesting is that we stop labeling schools as “gun-free” and change the law in such a way that permits adults on the premises who are properly trained in the handling of firearms to legally bear arms on school premises, on an entirely voluntary basis. Give responsible, law-abiding citizens the freedom and opportunity to protect themselves and our children in the event of a violent attack.

Perhaps not a single teacher will take up arms to protect our children. That’s OK. It should be their choice. But perhaps one will, and perhaps that one will save a life or minimize the damage perpetrated by an attacker like the one at Virginia Tech. Wouldn’t it be better to place that level of doubt in an attacker’s mind, instead of assuring them that our most precious natural resource – our children – are completely unarmed and powerless?

Eva Costello