With all the NRA-inspired talk in the air about turning our schools into armed camps, you knew it wouldn't be long before Arizona proposed a solution. After all, this is the land where anyone can open-carry a holstered pistol on their hip—no permit or registration required. Where anyone over 21 can carry a concealed weapon—no permit or registration required. Where anyone, deranged psychopath or convicted felon, can walk into the Phoenix Gun Show and leave with an AR-15, no questions asked, no registration required.
Yes, it's the land of the Shootout at the OK Corral, where the legislature named an "Official Weapon" not long after their former colleague Gabby Giffords was shot. Who says we don't have class? So it was only a matter of time before Arizona stepped forward with its solution to tragedies like Sandy Hook Elementary. Attorney General Tom Horne, who used to be the Superintendent of Public Instruction, is awful proud of his solution:
“As far as I know, it’ s a new idea,” he said. “It’s an original Tom Horne idea.” Arizona RepublicFolks who follow Arizona news might think "an original Tom Horne idea" is his unique style of hit-and-run: fleeing the scene of an accident because you had your mistress in the car and didn't want to get caught. But that's another story.
Mr. Horne's solution to school mass murders is to arm every principal. If for some crazy reason the principal refuses to pack heat—oh, like maybe he or she would rather focus on educating students instead of firearms—then another administrator would be asked. Presumably, they'd go down the line, from principal to vice-principal to school nurse to cafeteria manager to head janitor, until they find someone willing to take the security training and wear a weapon at all times.
He is proposing that only the principal or one other staff member at each school be trained and then allowed to carry a firearm at school.Horne's plan does not include arming teachers because that would "create more danger." I guess administrators are better shots than teachers.
Like every other educational facility in America since 9/11, Arizona schools have security policies in place, and most schools have "School Resource Officers" who take law enforcement training. Funny thing, guess what program the Arizona legislature has been hacking away at the past few sessions, when they've cut tens of millions of dollars from the state education budget, leading the nation in cuts?
School resource officers are trained law enforcement officers. The state in recent years cut funding for the SRO program.So now Horne proposes that we arm and train personnel for every school, and find the resources to do it in budgets that have been slashed to the bone. Sheesh, too many schools don't have enough teachers, current textbooks, or adequate facilities, but AG Horne thinks we can divert even more funds for training and guns.
Democrat Chad Campbell, the House Minority Leader, himself a gun owner, hit the nail on the head, calling Horne's proposal a "crazy idea":
“But this is an extremist reaction that’s going to do nothing to help the safety of our schools at the end of the day. This is the knee-jerk reaction we need to avoid.”Knee-jerk is an apt description. An attempt to sell more guns that are made by the manufacturers who the NRA represents is another. Sandy Hook is terrible, but far more children are killed by guns outside of school, so what are we doing to protect them?
But the number of children and teens killed [by guns] in 2008 and 2009 in the U.S. alone could fill 229 classroom with 25 students, according to a report released by the Children’s Defense Fund this year. HuffPoI once belonged to the NRA and a few relatives still do. So far as I know, none of them supports Wayne LaPierre's screwball proposal, but what they do support is sensible regulation, starting with background checks. Don't hold your breath in Arizona, though; instead of regulations we're likely to see the legislature call for loosening gun laws, and adopting AG Horne's cockamamy plan.
The statement that Gabby Gifford's husband Mark Kelly made at Jared Loughner's sentencing feels like so much sound drowned out by the noise:
“In this state we have elected officials so feckless in their leadership that they would say, as in the case of Governor Jan Brewer, ‘I don’t think it has anything to do with the size of the magazine or the caliber of the gun.’ ... Or a state legislature that thought it appropriate to busy itself naming an official Arizona state gun just weeks after this tragedy occurred, instead of doing the work it was elected to do.”And after Newtown?
He added, “We have a political class that is afraid to do something as simple as have a meaningful debate about our gun laws and how they are being enforced. We have representatives who look at gun violence, not as a problem to solve, but as the white elephant in the room to ignore. As a nation we have repeatedly passed up the opportunity to address this issue. After Columbine; after Virginia Tech; after Tucson and after Aurora we have done nothing.” Politico