The state motto for New Hampshire is “Live Free or Die.” It’s a sentiment that many of us who have never set foot in the state can share.
However, some state lawmakers–Democrats, unsurprisingly–seem to think living free means being restricted in what you can do, especially as it pertains to protecting yourself or your fellow man. That’s the only explanation for why the state’s reviving a measure that will allow school districts to ban guns on school property.
Following success at the ballot box in November, Democratic legislators are again proposing legislation to allow New Hampshire school districts to bar people from carrying firearms onto school grounds, after a similar effort last year failed to clear a Republican-controlled Senate.
The bill, House Bill 101, would amend state law so that school districts, school administrative units and public charter schools could adopt and enforce their own policies regulating guns and knives on campus.
Proponents say the measure would bring the Granite State into compliance with federal law and allow local officials to determine what works best in their districts. Some also argue that banning guns would make school buildings safer and creates a better learning environment.
However, opponents say the measure could remove a key deterrent against school shootings and cause confusion as districts adopt differing policies.
Democrats took issue with the deterrent argument.
“The minute you let someone into the building with a gun, with a visual gun, these kids, who have no idea whether they’re looking at a good guy with a gun or a bad guy with a gun, are terrorized,” said State Rep. Susan Ford, D-Easton, a retired school principal who supports the bill.
Ford said children are used to seeing police officers with guns, but members of the public openly carrying through hallways would cause students to fear an imminent school shooting.
In other words, Ford thinks New Hampshire students are freaking idiots.
No, seriously. That’s the only logical explanation.
There’s not a single instance I can recall where a mass shooter walked into a school with a holstered weapon, milled about while students were present with that same weapon holstered, and had no weapon in his hands.
While I won’t say students will universally be comfortable next to someone with a holstered and exposed weapon, their comfort and safety aren’t synonyms. You can be perfectly comfortable in unsafe circumstances and uncomfortable in perfectly safe ones. Students may look at a holstered weapon and be uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean they’ll automatically be terrified.
And even if they are, so what? It’s time they learn to confront things that scare them.
Meanwhile, New Hampshire isn’t exactly a hotbed of mass shootings. It’s like they don’t happen in a state that’s so gun friendly. Funny that. I mean, it’s almost like the deterrent effect is a real thing. Who knew?
While I tend to defer to the idea of local control in most instances, no government entity should be allowed the authority to curb anyone’s constitutional rights without due process. That includes school districts.
This measure idea needs to be put out of its misery.