I first started hearing about school shootings in the 1990s. Back then, it was really a gang thing, mostly. Students would bring a gun to school and shoot a rival. It was still awful, of course, but it was far preferable to how the term has shifted these days.
Anti-gun folks seem to like that shift, too. It lets them get really scary about any shooting that happens in a school.
For them, it’s not a tragedy. It’s an opportunity.
Take this piece from CNN, where they use the shooting of a teacher by a six-year-old student to call for mandatory storage laws.
In the week since a six-year-old boy in Newport News, Virginia took a gun from his home, brought it to school and shot his teacher, community members and officials are grappling with an unsettling question: How did the child get access to a loaded firearm?
It was the first shooting at a US school in 2023, according to a CNN analysis, highlighting what some gun policy experts believe is a dire need for stronger, more consistent laws nationwide, requiring adults to safely secure their guns out of the reach of children and others unauthorized to use them. It also reveals a lack of public education on the responsibility of gun owners to store their guns unloaded, locked and away from ammunition, the experts said.
In other words, anti-gunners latched onto it almost immediately to start pushing for mandatory storage laws. Never mind that most people already know they should lock up their guns when not in use. The mother, in this case, didn’t.
It’s insane to argue that she would have if it had simply been the law. First, that would assume she knew it was the law in the first place, something you cannot assume since no one in the nation knows every law on the books.
Second, if she was irresponsible enough to leave a gun where it could be so easily obtained, why would you assume she’d suddenly correct that irresponsibility because of words on a page? It’s not like she figured her kid would get a gun and shoot someone. One would assume that if she had, she’d have acted differently. If she didn’t figure her kid would misuse her gun, why would you assume she’d have thought any differently if it was the law?
Yet, the incident in Virginia isn’t the only example of this. No, there are plenty we’ve seen over the years, such as calling for an assault weapon ban after a shooting that didn’t involve one.
But we have another example from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There, an anti-gun op-ed writer is lamenting that folks like you and me see school shootings and think we need to protect our children better. In the process, though, she argues that Georgia needs to adopt gun control because of what happens in different states.
After a teen in Uvalde, Texas, murdered 19 students and two teachers in May with AR-style rifles he bought only days earlier, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said, “The thought of something similar happening in one of our places of learning is one of my heaviest concerns, one that I ask God to guard against every day.”
Kemp never mentioned that gun laws here are so weak that Georgia is a leading exporter of crime guns to states with stricter regulations. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traces some guns found at crime scenes. In 2021, 20,472 of those guns traced back to Georgia.
Instead, Kemp outlined plans to harden and fortify schools rather than to keep guns from children or restrict assault weapons. Fortifications — surveillance cameras, armed officers, metal detection, random searching — don’t prevent school shootings. Research shows the $2.7 billion spent each year nationally on hardening schools hasn’t decreased shootings.
Without any meaningful government response to limit gun access, schools have little choice but to do what they can. New data from the federal School Pulse Panel reveals 74% of schoolsin the South have sworn law enforcement police officers in their buildings at least weekly, and 86% have behavioral threat assessment teams. Nationwide, the survey shows more schools installing interior door locks, alarms and panic buttons.
What’s missing here is an understanding of how people get guns.
Yes, most mass shooters obtain guns lawfully. That’s not likely to change because most mass shooters lack a criminal record that would disqualify them from purchasing a firearm.
As such, gun control doesn’t do anything to stop school shootings.
Anti-gunners apparently don’t comprehend that you cannot stop bad people from getting guns. They get firearms in nations like the UK, where they have a level of gun control that wouldn’t survive constitutional muster here. If people can still get guns, despite the country being an island with controlled points of entry, what hope would we have?
By fortifying schools, we protect our kids regardless of how bad actors might get guns. It doesn’t matter if they have firearms if they can’t get them inside schools.
This is hilarious since anti-gunners routinely want to keep guns out of all these different places, all while lamenting efforts to actually keep guns out of one of those places.
But that’s because it’s not the right kind of response to school shootings.
For the garden-variety anti-gunner, school shootings aren’t about student or teacher safety. They’re nothing but opportunities to try and cram through gun restrictions.