In high school, there is often a lot of aggressive arguing and fighting. Whether it be between friends, relationships, or a teacher, it can always get out of hand. If you were a teacher, where is the line drawn when you can pull out your gun? What kind of lawsuit will the school be facing if there is an accidental discharge? Applying more lenient gun control laws for staff members in a school setting will not improve the lives of children. Therefore, the gun control laws in school stay
In 1789, the U.S. Constitution passed the second amendment stating that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” (Amend. II). In the past, guns were used for military service, hunting, and self-protection. Most gun control laws include registration requirements, background checks, carry permits, and much more. Over many years, new laws have been created or revised to keep the nation safe from harm and criminal activity. There are two perspectives: if guns are protecting people or if guns are harming people is a very controversial topic. Both sides have participated in campaigns, marches, associations, and debates. Recently, the major mass shootings have created a powerful debate for gun control laws, especially in the school district. One viewpoint is frightened parents fearful that without more security in the school, it is a target for criminals. Another viewpoint is that teachers are not law enforcement and placing them in that line of duty is very unpredictable.
A lethal weapon should not be anywhere close to a place that holds so many minors. At this age, they are very curious, so whether it be an accident or a burst of anger, teenagers cannot have such a dangerous weapon near. The presence of a violent weapon allows a conflict to become more out of control. In 2013, the FBI found that arguments resulted in 1,962 gun deaths or 59.9% of the total” (“Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?”). This indicates that a hostile environment can lead people to threatening acts. Since 1989, there has been a major “increase in the percentage of students who feel unsafe at school” because of the media making it seem like school shootings will be a common event (Redding and Shalf 299). If students fear that someone will come inside with a gun, imagine how the adolescents will react with the guns already in the building among the students. These new laws will not make the children feel safer, but the government continues to enhance security. In New York City schools, the Center for Disease Control found that adding random metal detector searches made students less likely to bring dangerous weapons to school (Redding and Shalf 311). School discipline is an effective component to school safety, if enforced correctly and can decrease the unacceptable activity in the school.
Adding more lenient gun control laws in the school is not an inexpensive task. The educational system does not have the financial means to provide a gun or hand gun license for even a third of the staff members. Many schools already struggle with the basic costs to provide computers, textbooks, and equipment to teach. The government cannot afford to spend more on schools, so the new system is very flawed. A low-end handgun will cost between $250 and $400. Depending on the state, a handgun license, permitting you to carry a gun, can be between $10-$140 and this does not include the renewal cost every 1-7 years (Csere). There is a little over 3.6 million teachers in the United States (“National Science Teachers Association”). If a third of the teachers were provided for, the lowest standard cost would start at $480 million and that does not include the proper training program. A more profitable and practical idea is using that money to place portable metal detectors in each school. The average walk-through detector costs around $4,000 (“U.S. Department of Justice”). For every school, it would cost 148 million to provide a metal detector, not including the schools that already own one. This can be a big step in catching weapons going into the schools. The gun advocates forget that this is essentially a place to learn.
This is a very controversial debate, but both sides need to realize that the system we have in place has guarded the majority of the United States against school shootings. The government can create more laws, but it will never stop crime completely and “relative to the rest of our society, schools are already very safe places” (Rostron 440). Over time, school shootings have become more prominent because they have occurred more recently. Along with each devastating story, schools are increasing their security without the use of bringing guns inside. Most schools believe they have already taken “new security precautions, such as installing high perimeter fences, closed-circuit television cameras, and a keypad or intercom systems to control access at school entrances” (Rostron 453). People judge these school policies and laws already in place too harshly. Citizens are pointing out each failure without enlightening the thousands of schools that have not had a disastrous event. There are 26,407 public high schools and 10,693 private schools in the United States (“U.S. Department of Education”). Since 1840, there have been around 343 school shooting incidences (Paradice 140). Although these are very horrendous events, if you look at the big picture, not allowing guns inside school grounds has improved the rate of school shootings. In the United States, the leading cause of death among teenagers and children is by far road traffic accidents. Over time, this unintentional injury has increased the death rate of young people. Although this is the leading cause of death, there is not a lot of debate on how we can decrease this occurrence. However, school shootings are always brought to our attention each time. The main reason is the media giving families fear that there is an outbreak of school violence. The number 343 sounds like a horrifyingly high number, but compared to the boys and girls who have been killed in a car accident it is nowhere close. On average, nine teenagers are killed every day from motor vehicle injuries (Snyder). This evidence demonstrates how long this law has kept us as safe as possible.
Furthermore, there are no laws that stop criminal activity completely, especially gun control laws. Many criminals acquire their weapons through breaking the law. In the United States, between 1982 and 2012, there were 143 guns possessed by mass shooters with only 75% obtained legally (“Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?”). This evidence explains that you can obtain a gun even if you are legally not allowed. For example, among the group of mass shootings between 1997 to 1999, there were seven mass shootings in schools all from minors. The American Behavioral Scientist, Gary Kleck, lists in a table all the details of each tragedy. Out of the seven occurrences, five of the juveniles stole their gun from a neighbor or a locked cabinet (Kleck 1450). As an illustration, imagine if there were a couple guns in the school, but locked away. Would you be completely confident that these adolescents would not have access to it? Additionally, between 2005 and 2010, “1.4 million guns were stolen from the United States during property crimes” (“Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?”). This statement confirms that guns are consistently being stolen, so criminals can use them illegally. As a result, the occurrence of “school shootings are due to the greater access to guns among the current generation of youth” (Kleck 1450).
On the other hand, many advocates do not agree with the current policies and are appealing to the population with the recent tragedies to assemble more supporters. After the Sandy Hook shooting, the National Rifle Association’s Executive Vice President, Wayne LaPierre, delivered a statement that expressed their point of view. LaPierre stated that, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” (Rostron 441-442). In 2013, the first state to promote the carrying of guns in school was passed by South Dakota. A legislation sponsor aspired to promote a national shift about guns inside a school. He hoped “dominoes will start to fall, people will see it’s reasonable, it’s safer than they think, it’s proactive and it’s preventative” (Rostron 454). This evidence demonstrates that even if the law is passed, most schools already feel they are safe enough and would not want to bring these dangerous weapons inside their school building.
However, many bills have been enacted and they have had little effect because most staff members are uninterested and oppose the act of arming on school grounds. None of the schools want to be a laboratory in testing how this risky law plays out. Although South Dakota signed the bill into law, few schools chose to do so. A South Dakota newspaper stated, “despite all the heated debate and uneasiness about the new law, it’s effect on school safety is nonexistent” (Rostron 444). It has not been used because no one wants to have their name on something that could hurt so many children if something went wrong. If each staff member was trained properly, it could enhance the safety of the environment, but the money and risk are too much. Gary Kleck expressed that “regardless of how ineffective a policy might appear in light of school mass killings that occur, that same policy might have short-circuited still other violent events that never came to be” (Kleck 1452). The United States truly has no idea the effect that this law will have on children in the schools.
Although many advocates are fighting to apply more lenient gun control laws for staff members in a school setting, it will not improve the lives of children because it is setting the weapon right in the place of the crime. This is an extremely important topic because student’s lives are in the hands of the government’s decision. The United States has made it this far with minimal tragedies out of all the schools and the effect has been dreadful, but beneficial. While the gun control laws cannot completely stop the incident of crime, they are using the most effective regulation to stop mass shootings in schools.