With a school shooting in Spokane, we shouldn’t be surprised to see any gun journalists writing about how it’s all the fault of the gun. Despite the fact that the Spokane County Sheriff wasn’t quick to blame guns for the incident…or maybe they did it because he wouldn’t do it for them.
But when a reporter asked Knezovich how the shooter had access to the firearms used to kill classmate Sam Strahan and injure three others, the sheriff was reluctant to discuss gun control issues.
“Minors are not supposed to be in possession of a handgun until they’re 21,” he said. “You never know how people get ahold of weapons. Those are things we’ll be digging into in trying to figure out what exactly happened here.”
But it’s no mystery how Sharpe gained access to the weapons he fired at school. Knezovich acknowledged there is a gun safe in Sharpe’s house. The teen told police that he knows the combination to the safe and bragged to fellow students that his father purchased guns for him, according to court documents reviewed by The Spokesman-Review.
“We’ll have to figure it out and go from there,” Knezovich said of the safe. ”[A]s a parent, you need to take care of how you store those things.”
The sheriff’s resistance to focusing on the firearms in the Freeman High shooting fits with the longstanding effort of gun lobbyists and politicians to avoid discussing the elephant in the room in the wake of tragedies like this.
It’s not the elephant in the room, it’s the specter.
After all, there are numerous laws on the books to prevent what happened in Spokane, yet absolutely none of them actually stopped the shooter. None of them.
As Sheriff Knezovich noted, minors aren’t legally allowed to possess handguns until they’re 21. While HuffPo‘s speculation may, indeed, be right, it might not. After all, it’s not unusual for children to claim things that aren’t really true. From knowing how to access the gun safe to having a girlfriend in Canada, this is a staple.
That’s not to say the claim isn’t true, only that I won’t accept a teenage boy’s word for it.
Further, while it’s certainly possible that the student did have firearms purchased for him, it’s also not that unusual. Many gun owners were given their first firearm as kids. Mine was an Enfield Jungle Carbine I used for deer hunting. My son has a .22 and a Marlin 30-30. This isn’t some rare thing that’s a sign of irresponsible parenting.
What it means is that we still don’t know all that much about the shooting.
Yet there’s something we do know, something that The Huffington Post won’t ask because they don’t want to know. They don’t want to know what would have happened if teachers had been armed.
Just a couple states South, California teachers in some districts can be armed if they possess a valid concealed carry license (Edited to add a clarification that there are other considerations involved first), something they are poised to lose any day now once Governor Jerry Brown signs the bill. Yet how would that have impacted a case like this?
The shooter surrendered to police, but what if he’d met armed resistance earlier? What if a teacher or other staff member had presented their own firearm. Would anyone have died? How many fewer would have been injured?
But the anti-gun media won’t ask that because they’re more interested in demonizing guns and gun owners rather than looking for actual solutions to school violence.
[Edited to add specifics courtesy of one of our commentors:
The right of teachers (or any concealed carriers) to carry on school grounds was largely removed 2 years ago with the passage of SB707. There was an exception created in that law that would allow concealed carriers (teachers or staff or even parents) to carry on campus with written permission from the superintendent of schools or his designee.
It is not a blanket allowance even in those districts. The CCW licensee must apply for and receive the exception, and it’s allowed on a case-by-case basis.
California’s anti-gun legislators were dismayed when some (4 or 5, not “many”) school districts actually used this exception to allow concealed carry on their campuses.
The removal of that exception is what passed the legislature and is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature.
We have noted the dismay of anti-gun legislators here at Bearing Arms previously, though we had found mention of more than four of five in previous research. As I do not live in California, I had no reason to retain the information in my notes, so the word “many” was changed to “some” for clarity’s sake.]