The NRA’s chief spokesman, Wayne T. LaPierre, got more publicity than he ever has before when he came out in favor of getting an armed guard in every public school. This was in response to the Newtown killings.
He was after a sound bite. He got it.
He called for the end of the gun-free school zone.
“The only way to answer that question is to face up to the truth. Politicians pass laws for Gun-Free School Zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them.
“And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are their safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.”
When you call for more government, you need to ask two questions: (1) Who will pay for this? (2) What will it cost? Armed guards in every school would be very expensive. Sadly, he did not go into details on financing.
He made it clear that the gun-free school zone is a very bad idea.
Who was behind the idea of gun-free schools, anyway? Why, it was Wayne T. LaPierre!
Well, maybe not behind it, exactly. But he was surely front and center with it. When the 1999 version of this 1995 Republican Party version of the 1990 law needed expert testimony, Mr. LaPierre was there. He said this:
“We think it’s reasonable to support the federal Gun-Free School Zones Act. What’s unreasonable is letting 6,000 students caught with illegal guns at school go, prosecuting only 13 of them the past two years.”
But in 2012, he wanted a sound bite. I could have supplied him with one: School-Free Gun Zones. I defended this idea here. Problem: the idea is not politically correct. It calls for a reduction of civil government, not an increase.
I have a fall-back position: every public school teacher should be trained in the use of a handgun. Then every teacher would be supplied with one by the school. Every morning, a teacher would be handed a .357 magnum from the school’s arsenal. Make every teacher an armed guard. There would be an up-front expense, but no full-time armed guard on each school’s payroll.
Every school would have as many armed guards as it has teachers and administrators.
This would call attention to the vulnerable condition of children in public schools. Home schools do not have these risks. But the nation’s school districts don’t want to remind voters of this difference in school safety. Here is their sound bite: Blame Guns, Not Schools.
My suggestion: any teacher refusing to get trained and pack iron would be fired and replaced. No more squeamish, fearful old women of both sexes in our classrooms. I have a sound bite for this, too: Get Packed or Get Packing.
I love a good sound bite.