Don’t Waste Billions Putting Gun-Wielding Guards In Our Schools

by Hans Bader on April 17, 2013 · 2 comments

in Personal Liberty, Politics as Usual, Precaution & Risk, Zeitgeist

School violence has diminished in recent years, but in response to a few mass shootings, the National Rifle Association and the Obama administration have advocated putting armed guards in every school, even though that would cost billions of dollars. The Cato Institute’s Gene Healy explains why this is a bad idea. As Healy notes, “if your goal is to prevent kids from getting murdered, the schools are about the last place you’d put new police, since 98 percent of youth homicides occur off school grounds.”

Even a high estimate of the rate of school shootings suggests that a typical “school in the United States can expect a school shooting” only “every 6,000 years.” Meanwhile, “to put ‘armed police officers in every school,’” as the NRA’s Wayne “LaPierre has frantically demanded that Congress do, would require hiring over 100,000 new cops,” notes Healy. Moreover, putting armed guards in schools increases the risk of accidental shootings, or armed guards “going postal.”  For example, “A New York town that began assigning an armed police officer to guard a high school in the wake of the Connecticut massacre has suspended the program after an officer accidentally discharged his pistol in a hallway while classes were in session.”

Additional critiques of this big-government scheme at taxpayer expense can be found at Reason magazine and Free Range Kids (“Our Schools Are Safe Enough: A Movement to Stop Overreacting to Sandy Hook” [click here])

Hans Bader April 17, 2013 at 10:11 am

School shootings sometimes trigger foolish responses by government officials. In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings, college and school officials overreacted by restricting First Amendment-protected speech that posed no conceivable risk of violence:

http://www.examiner.com/article/schools-restrict-speech-protests-and-poetry-response-to-sandy-hook-massacre

In response to the Sandy Hook shootings, New York hastily passed a poorly-drafted gun law that inadvertently shackled the police and contained certain provisions that could actually undermine school and college safety (a law that which some rank-and-file legislators did not even read before they voted for it):

http://www.examiner.com/article/hasty-new-york-gun-law-inadvertently-harms-police-may-harm-school-safety

New York’s governor and legislature have since had to come up with a series of “technical corrections” to fix flaws in the bill that should have been obvious, including provisions that turned out to be nonsensical after it became law.

http://joshblackman.com/blog/2013/03/20/revised-ny-gun-law-you-can-have-10-round-magazine-but-can-only-load-7-rounds/

JohnyAngel Advocacy Group April 18, 2013 at 2:40 am

This is pure nonsense. 1) Where do your children go to school 2) When the next shooting occurs at an unguarded school,statistics won’t help 3) Common sense points to different strategy than “do nothing”4) write this same story right after the next school shooting, I could list other very plain answers to this writer,but why bother.

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