In the wake of recent school shootings we as a society have been forced to re-examine our stances on gun control. As mothers and fathers, seeing news coverage of children slain at school by a man with an assault weapon has been horrifying.
Gun rights advocates suggest, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun…” and have called for an armed guard at every school in the country. I’ve been to some schools for blind children that insist on also having blind staff. I’m just saying we might want to consider at least a couple of exemptions before making Rifle one of the 3 Rs. And gun rights advocates ought to remember that 2-armed guards at Columbine didn’t stop that tragedy.
On the other hand, perhaps Kansas and Utah have it right by going further and allowing teachers to carry weapons…? I know it’s well intentioned, protecting our liberties with a well regulated militia, but I just can’t wrap my head around a Kindergarten teacher with a gun. Unless it’s a glue gun!
Urbanologist Richard Florida looked at different states firearm deaths per 100,000 from 2007 and found correlations worth considering in this debate.
The factors most highly correlated with deaths by firearm were poverty and working class communities. So we might consider if combatting poverty would be a useful strategy in decreasing gun violence.
Conversely, in states with assault weapons bans, trigger locks and storage requirements, all three were negatively correlated with deaths by firearm. So we might consider if some reasonable limits to the right to bear arms might make a lot of sense. I know the grenade launching enthusiasts out there will be annoyed, but I’m not so sure grenade launching enthusiasts ought to have grenades.
Florida’s analysis also suggested an insignificant (negative) correlation with mental illness. So while background checks and improved mental health services are worthwhile endeavors, it may not be warranted to think such measures are sufficient in addressing gun violence.
The bottom line is that statistically, more guns increase the chances of killing. I’m sure this reads like a papa page on a political pedestal (my apologies) but I’m okay with that if it even marginally contributes to a culture where mass shootings at school are at least a little less likely.
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