One Mother’s Repsonse To The NRA’s National School Shield Proposal

School ShootingThe 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.

Image via iStockphoto

  • deb

    i have only one thing to say: me too!

  • Aprille Bernard

    Guns do not kill people..jerks with guns kill do out of control cars..animals on the loose and war..If they are training people in the school to use fire-arms then it should be about the training..who they are trained by..will there be a policing authority on the grounds etc..Are you going to remove the seat-belts from your kids? Are you going to go after every animal personally and lock them in or up? a parent we cannot be everywhere all the time..there is just NOT enough bubble wrap that can keep our kids safe in an unsafe world. The guns will not be in your childrens’ hands. They will be in the hands of trained people. These same people will have back-ground checks run on them. They WILL be trained in the use of these guns. Bases will be covered. I believe this. I do not like guns. I have had a large caliber gun pointing at me as a child. I understand your hesitation. All I ask is you get the facts, follow up on everything and consider this..should one more child have to die before we as parents STOP disliking guns and start caring more about the safety of appropriate gun use and protection?

  • lori

    I completely agree with you!! Keep it up!! I also really like the governors proposals. It is fine if someone wants to own a gun but I do not want one in a school with my children. END.OF.STORY.

  • While I can sort of agree with the NRA’s theory about guns not killing people, people kill people as being true -to a degree -when people -whether they are trained in gun usage and safety or not are put in a position such as is revealed in this proposal by the NRA, there is no guarantee that someone within those ranks -being “people” you know -might someday snap and wreak similar havoc on another school somewhere, some place too!

    I live in a small village in central Pennsylvania -a relatively quiet area, low population, etc. -normally, a very low crime rate, particularly for violent crimes and yet within the past two weeks there have been two shootings within about a 50 miles radius of my home -one, only 12 miles away -in which four people died! One shooting was of a 2-year-old child who was shot and killed by his father; the mother was also shot but is recovering and the father then killed himself. The other shooting last week, 12 miles away -took place in a grocery store when a man entered there in search of his estranged wife, found her, shot and killed her, then shot himself. He was a retired military man as well as a retired State Trooper too so don’t tell me he hadn’t had more than adequate training in the use of firearms and the gun in his hands -yes, remember he is part of the “people” equation, isn’t he -took like life of a woman who already had a PFA on this man, who was awaiting trial too for assault charges brought on him for actions he had taken back in January. This woman had lived in terror for who knows how long because of this man and his knowledge plus ownership of guns!

    Would anyone prefer perhaps people like that to be among those supposedly serving as protectors of their children in school?

    Personally, I don’t hate guns. I don’t own any, as I don’t hunt but I like to enjoy the fruits of the labors at times when some of my neighbors are lucky and get a deer in hunting season. I recognize the fact too that cars kill people when they are in the hands of drunken or reckless drivers and such so there again it is people who kill yes, but the car can still also be considered as a weapon too, can’t it?

    I do believe too that the majority of our society does try to be law-abiding citizens and not out to do harm deliberately to others but too, who is to say, who knows, when someone -could be you, could be me, a neighbor, a relative, a close friend, may in a moment of insanity or anger, perhaps fueled by alcohol, or illness of some type (mental or otherwise) may snap and do something unthinkable. It could and sadly enough, it does happen that way more times than we all would like to think about.

    Would we really want that risk -people who appear to be good citizens on the surface but who maybe boiling over, seething inside, to be watching over the children in our schools?

    Which way creates the more risk?

    Would the teachers at Newtown really have ever had a prayer of a chance to stop the shooter who barged in and in less than about 2-3 minutes, had killed those teachers and those little children? Be realistic there and think about it would they have had time to even turn around and reach for a weapon to retaliate? I think not! However, perhaps better attention to mental health could have saved that young man from the turmoil obviously rooted in his mind to have gone to the extremes he did in the first place!

    I do not for the life of me see what is wrong with anyone owning a gun -regardless of the type -having to register that item! We register our cars do we not and that is frequently a useful tool then for police in trying to locate a car that has been stolen, or used in an accident or crime and one would think that registration of guns would possibly help the police in and along those same lines. As to people and their irrational fears of the government using gun registration to come and seize their weapons, perhaps there are some of those who abide by that idea who should have their weapons confiscated! Just a small thought there.

    As long as we as a nation, a society, however you want to term the majority of us here would live and abide by the laws in a civil manner to each other -no racism, no bullying, no discrimination, no drug abuse, no thievery, or any other forms of law breaking -in what would be an ideal civilization, no there would be no need for any of this discussion at all to ever take place, would there? Yes, guns do kill or maim in the wrong hands, as do cars, knives, rocks, darned near anything can and sometimes is, used as a weapon when in the wrong hands. Certainly and sadly, that is true enough.

    But perhaps setting aside some of the obtuse thought processes so many people seem to have about the freedoms we all do have here and that they apply to everyone here -not just the wealthy but the poor, not just the well-educated but those who are illiterate as well, not just to the white but also to those people of every color and nationality under the sun who choose to reside here perhaps then, with better understanding of self and also our fellow travelers along life’s way, better methods for people to cope with life’s problems and travails, maybe then some accord could be reached.

    But until then -there will be nothing happening any differently than it does today as people will still be people and as such, some will kill, harm, maim, terrorize others Just saying that does not mean I approve of that -just saying that is the way life is, unfortunately.

  • Amen. Yet more smoke and mirrors from the NRA to distract from the very basic fact that Sandy Hook would have been much less horrific with some basic common-sense gun regulations in place. Whether the argument is for guns for hunting or guns for safety, there is no justification I can come up with to carry a semi-automatic weapon.

    And I should add that these suggested regulations won’t protect us or our kids in movie theaters, shopping malls, college campuses and all of the other places semi-automatic weapons have been used for mass murders.

  • Aprille Bernard

    VERY good for the Newtown killings..well..I have a son with Aspergars..I resent the media focusing in on that..this kid was just disturbed to the for gun for someone having a fire-arm at Newtown..really..those are all what-ifs and supposition..we never will know if we would have had a different least the difference would be choice..those people..had no choices..that is a fact..someone with a fire-arm may have been able to provide some kind of protection and saved even a few lives..that is a was a fish in a bucket scenario and the sad part is unless we as a people become more pro-active we will exist in a series of oh whys and if only’s and what ifs..

  • Aprille Bernard

    the difference between auto and semi is just the reload time..that is it..

    • Katie

      I just want to respond to this, to say it is flat out wrong. An automatic weapon is where you hold the trigger and bullets spray out until you let go of the trigger (Or run out of bullets). A semi automatic means you have to pull the trigger once for every bullet that comes out.

      I have my own opinions on the NRA’s suggestions, and on the author’s opinion, but as she will accept no criticism, it is a waste of time trying to get her to listen. An honest discourse indeed. Just wanted to correct this- there are enough myths and errors floating around out there.

  • I so relate to your feelings on this. Try as I might, I cannot understand how these proposals would make our public kid schools *safer*. It just feels like a recipe for disaster to me. An armed guard at Columbine did not prevent that tragedy. I think the NRA is trying to shift the conversation away from common-sense measures like universal background checks (which they once supported) and restrictions on automatic weapons/large capacity magazines, and better identification and support of people with mental health problems. They are right when they say such measures won’t ensure gun violence won’t occur — but if all are in place, it will ensure that the deaths would be REDUCED.

  • I could not agree with you more. I do not want my child in school with guns.

  • You are free to hate guns if you want. At the same time, I’m assume you know it’s a Second Amendment Constitutional right for Americans to bear arms is they choose.

    I know you’re not accepting criticism (which IMO and experience is not very realistic if you’re writing about a controversial issue on a public blog that accepts comments), so I won’t criticize. I just think the responsible women gun owners I spoke with who were taught about firearms at a young age (like six years old) by other responsible gun owners (usually their fathers) are proof that your blanket statement, “Children are not safe around guns,” doesn’t always apply. Perhaps educating children about gun safety and the appropriate use of firearms would actually help reduce the number of accidents. I wrote a post here last month about what women gun owners have to say, if you care to read it:

    • I said I understand the Second Amendment and I’m not trying to take guns away from anyone. What I’m saying is that I do not want my children around guns. I consider them unsafe for children. I do not allow guns in my home, I do not take my children to places with guns. If there were guns in their school, I would refuse to allow them into the school.

      Have all the guns you want. Keep them away from me and my kids.

      • Aprille Bernard

        So I am correct to assume you never take your children to July 4th parades..concerts..bus terminals..airports..police stations..Also Joanne Bamberger..does this mean the right to peaceful gathering is only for a dozen or so people..which would be the amount when it was written..orr..the right to freedom of speech..since that was..if we are getting down to it..for the writing of pamphlets..or..OOO..the BIBLE..which was written both BC and AD!! Was that only “God’s Word for then not now..The implications you are constructing would have to hold water for ALL “dated Materials” This is not a pick and choose..these are unalienable..They should not be voted on..they are rights..if someone wishes to make “amendments, it should be voted on but saying piecemeal what is or is not a right really makes no sense..and if I remember correctly the Commander in Chief swears to UPHOLD The Constitution of The United States of ALL citizens when he takes the Oath of office yes?? This does not mean the ones he likes or dislikes..

        • The strict construction theory isn’t mine — it’s that of the conservative political right. So if that is the interpretation for one part of the constitution, my argument is — be consistent. Not my interpretation of the constitution, just commenting on the inconsistencies.

  • If one wants to be a strict constructionist on the Second Amendment and, as Justics Scalia so often argues, view the document in the time frame only when it was written, then there is no right to bear any type of arms other than to the extent that a particular weapon existed in the 18th century. A right to bear arms does not mean everyone has a constitutional right to have as many weapons, as many different kinds of weapons with as much ammunition as possible. Interestingly, many conservatives who claim there should be no such restrictions on the right to bear arms also argue that there SHOULD be limitations and regulations on our constitutional right to vote.

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