The National Rifle Association has unveiled its National School Shield proposal. And I’m here to tell you that I am one unhappy parent.
It offers eight recommendations, the first three of which have to do with training various school personnel to carry weapons on school grounds. Several other recommendations relate to a safety assessment tool. I’ve been looking through the findings and what I’m gathering is that the NRA really wants us to turn public schools into fortresses staffed with armed personnel. I picture little kids being marched around gulag-like campuses, constantly reminded that the whole world is out to get them and we all must be prepared to shoot or be shot.
I’m close to tears thinking about this.
I’m done justifying my loathing of guns. You can try to talk me into accepting guns as a vital and useful part of safety in America and I will simply walk away. I hate guns. I hate what guns do to people. I want nothing to do with guns. I do not want my children near guns. That is my right. I will not accept criticism over that.
I will concede that locked doors, shatterproof windows, and security cameras are good ideas for schools and that’s the sort of thing my governor in Maryland is advocating in his gun safety bill currently working its way through the legislature. I agree that training staff to respond in the event of a crisis is critical to school safety. I applaud such efforts. But putting guns in schools. No. No. I will not tolerate that.
Children are not safe in an environment with guns. Guns are far more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide, or accident than in defense. Even in the hands of law enforcement, guns injure innocent people. Approximately 20,000 children per year are treated for gun injuries. Guns are not safe around children no matter who is carrying them. This is my conviction. I will not accept criticism.
If by some twist of fate, my children were slated to attend a school with armed personnel – even a single armed security guard – I would refuse to allow them in the building. Instead, I would meet with the ACLU and the Brady Campaign. I would confer with attorneys and educators and health and safety researchers. And I would bring a lawsuit against my state. I wouldn’t seek to disarm school personnel or take guns away from private owners. I understand the Second Amendment. No, I would sue for tuition to the private school of my choice on the grounds that my local school is incapable of providing a safe environment due to the presence of guns on the campus. I would call the media about my suit. I would write letters to editors, to teachers unions, to NIH and the CDC. I would shout my case from the rooftops, make as much noise as a mother who hates guns is able to make. I might be ridiculed. I might lose. But I would not permit my children to cross the threshold of a school in which there were armed personnel. Children are not safe around guns.
I know the counter-arguments. I’ve heard them all. You can type them into the comments as much as you want. I don’t care. I’m done listening to everyone who would place my children in the line of fire from a million would-be vigilantes with concealed carry permits and a fantasy about living out a first-person-shooter video game scenario. Children are not safe around guns and I will not let anyone force me to put my children in an environment with guns in it., no matter how many “studies” the NRA presents.