Victims implore us to “Do something!” about school shootings, but finding “something” to save children requires acknowledging three realities:
▪ Reality No. 1: Government can’t protect you. The Parkland, Fla., shooter was known. Police responded to his home forty-five times. The FBI failed to pursue two tips, one predicting exactly what happened. An armed school resource officer avoided confronting the shooter.
▪ Reality No. 2: Gun control fails. The 1994 Brady Act, creating the “National Instant Background Check System” (NICS), had no impact on violent crime. Mass killings actually accelerated after its passage. Mass killers typically pass checks.
The “NICS Improvement Act of 2007,” passed after Virginia Tech shootings, added mental health data to background checks, yet three recent mass killings involved mentally ill shooters.
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The 1995 “Gun Free School Zones Act” prohibited guns within 1,000 feet of schools, yet a Los Angeles Times timeline of mass killings from 1984 to 2017 reveals eleven of fourteen school shootings followed enactment.
Banning semi-automatic firearms and “high capacity” magazines also failed. A Department of Justice report on the ban effective from 1994 to 2004 said: “…we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence.”
▪ Reality No. 3: What does work is eliminating “gun-free” zones where, since 1950, 98.4 percent of mass killings have occurred. Examining data spanning nineteen years, researchers John Lott and William Landes discovered multiple victim public shootings in states expanding concealed handgun laws declined by 84 percent, deaths by 90 percent, injuries by 82 percent.
Crediting reductions to deterrence, they called the findings “dramatic,” concluding: “[T]he only policy factor to have a consistently significant influence on multiple victim public shootings is…passage of concealed handgun laws.”
School security necessitates four layers: Entrances featuring metal detectors, with emergency exits alarmed; armed security; law enforcement response times under five minutes; and because security is porous, a last layer of armed teachers.
“Teachers couldn’t be trained to stop school shooters,” you say? Consider an existing model: The Federal Flight Deck Officer Program, wherein volunteer airline pilots receive additional background checks and modest training, then carry firearms to stop terrorists.
Teachers who say, “I’d never carry a gun!” won’t have to. Others will volunteer. Those decrying schoolroom “Wild West shootouts” should acknowledge the alternative: All bullets flying in one direction — from sociopaths’ guns into victims’ bodies.
Predictions of accidents, stolen guns and other mayhem are unfounded.
The world’s most besieged democracy, Israel, recognizes no right to bear arms. Responding to terrorist attacks, however, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said: “In light of the security situation, I have decided to make it easier to obtain a gun permit.…Citizens trained in the use of firearms are a force multiplier in the struggle against terror.” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat urged citizens to carry weapons.
Yes, arming Israeli teachers raised concerns. Said Oren Shemtov, of Israel’s Academy of Security and Investigation, “At one point the Interior Ministry mandated that a certain percentage of teachers be armed but because, over time, fewer teachers carried weapons, for a number of reasons, including philosophical objections, and due to increased terror attacks, private guards were mandated at all schools.”
Armed guards are typical in Israel today, but not always. Dr. David Schiller, a veteran of multiple military actions, was an instructor for the Israeli Defense Force. After the Munich Olympics massacre, he advised Berlin’s SWAT team, earned a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern terrorism, and served as counter-terrorism expert for the RAND Corporation.
“I lived in a Kibbutz in Northern Israel,” said Schiller. “During Passover week in ’74 we in Galilee experienced…PLO attacks targeting specifically schools.…” Schiller described how parents and teachers armed themselves: “When the message got around to the PLO groups and a couple of infiltration attempts failed, the attacks against schools ceased…evildoers don’t like risks.”
Ever since the 1968 Gun Control Act, each gun control failure produces more gun control, resulting in thousands dead. After five decades of failed gun control, let’s do something that works.
F. Paul Valone is a professional airline pilot and director of Grass Roots North Carolina. He can be reached at president@GRNC.org.