Los Angeles Schools Awash in Weapons

Townhall Media

Los Angeles police were called out to an elementary school this week on reports of a 10-year-old with a gun, which turned out to be a stolen Glock 22. According to the L.A. Times, a fellow student saw the child show off the gun and reported it to an adult in the elementary school. An alert sent out to parents afterwards said the gun was "secured" by school staff before police were called, but so far there's been no word on any charges against the student or their parents. 


While this particular incident made headlines, guns on campus in gun-controlled Los Angeles are more common than you might realize. In fact, the L.A. Times reports that the number of weapon-related incidents in the Los Angeles Unified School District have nearly doubled compared to pre-pandemic figures. 

Incidents involving weapons at L.A. schools have increased sharply since students returned to in-person learning following pandemic-related campus closures that lasted more than a year, starting in March of 2020.

In the 2018-19 school year — before the pandemic — there were 669 weapon "incidents," a drop from the 705 of the previous year, according to district data. 

But in 2021-22 these incidents rose to 994 and rose again to 1,197 the following year, a nearly 80% increase compared to pre-pandemic levels in a school system with declining enrollment.

This year, through April 15, there were 903 weapons incidents. Since then, incidents have included the May 3 arrests of two students carrying loaded semiautomatic handguns around Northridge Middle School. A Washington Preparatory High School student carrying a weapon shot and killed a student just off campus on April 15.

To be fair, a gun might not have been the "weapon" involved in all 905 incidents. Students bringing knives, brass knuckles, or other weapons would also fall under this same category. But that doesn't change the fact that on any given day the district is dealing with multiple cases involving weapons being brought on campus, and some parents are fed up with what they see as the district's inaction. 


Also on Tuesday, at the regular meeting of the Board of Education, a delegation of parents submitted a petition with more than 4,000 signatures calling for a restoration of the reduced school-police budget and a return of officers to campus.

In 2020, the school board had voted to cut the school police budget by 30% in the wake of the Minneapolis city police killing of George Floyd. 

Parents on Tuesday faulted the board for associating the district's own school police to the indefensible actions of a city police force in another part of the country.

A separate group of parents from Clinton Middle School also called for a police presence, asserting in public comments that the district was failing to stop "five to six fights a day" as well as the cellphone filming of these fights — which are then uploaded to social media.

While thousands of parents are demanding more school resource officers, the local teachers union is criticizing the school board for not slashing the SRO budget even more. 

Teachers union President Cecily Myart-Cruz criticized the school board on Tuesday for not sticking by pledges to further reduce the police budget. 

... Board member George McKenna has repeatedly said that having an officer on campus helps deter students from bringing weapons to school.

But that's not the view of Joseph Williams, director of Students Deserve, which recruits and assists student activists who call for defunding the police.

When weapons were seized, he said in an interview, "was anyone injured? No. Why? Because some students on that campus trusted adults enough to say, 'Hey, this is going down and we need to address it,' and folks were able to intervene."

The presence of an officer would have diminished that trust, he said, making for a potentially more dangerous situation.


Something tells me that if you asked Myart-Cruz if teachers and staff should be able to carry firearms while on the job to serve as a first line of defense in case of an active shooter, she'd say that educators aren't police and that shouldn't be one of their responsibilities. That's the position of the National Education Association, anyway. 

Yet when guns or knives are found on a student, Myart-Cruz and activists like Joseph Williams don't want police on hand to remove the weapon. Instead, they apparently believe that should be the job of the very same educators who shouldn't be allowed to carry a gun. Seems like a double standard, doesn't it? 

The staggering rise in weapons offenses in L.A. schools is also a pretty clear indication that California's draconian gun laws are having a much bigger impact on the law-abiding than law-breakers. If you want to legally purchase and carry a Glock 22 in Los Angeles, you'll have to undergo a background check, 10-day waiting period, find an instructor certified by CalDOJ to host the mandated 16 hours of training, and then fork over more than $200 for your permit. Oh, and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department is currently taking more than a year to process some permit applications, so the 10-day wait to take possession of the firearm is just the beginning of your delays. 

If you're a teen who doesn't mind breaking the law, on the other hand, getting a gun and carrying it around is incredibly easy... and largely consequence-free if you're caught. A slap on the wrist, maybe a little time on probation, and you'll soon be in the clear. Just like in New York City, the restrictive laws in Los Angeles are doing a much better job of preventing folks from exercising their Second Amendment rights than stopping teens, illegal immigrants, and other prohibited persons from possessing a gun. 


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