EDITORIAL: Don't encourage more guns in schools

2013-09-27T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Don't encourage more guns in schools nwitimes.com
September 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

After Indiana lawmakers wisely shot down a proposed law to put untrained, unidentified armed adults in schools, the plan was to further discuss school security options this summer.

That this proposal didn't become law should have been a clue there was a flaw in the logic.

State Rep. Kevin Mahan, R-Hartford City, apparently missed it, however. He said at a legislative study committee last week that lawmakers should look at expanding Indiana's stand-your-ground law. The "castle doctrine" law allows Hoosiers to use deadly force in the face of perceived threats to themselves, another person or their property.

The answer to the problem of guns in schools is not more guns in schools, and it's certainly not to encourage people to open fire whenever they feel threatened.

Schools must be places where students and staff feel safe. Students and staff won't feel safe if untrained or minimally trained people carry weapons in the school.

"Let's look at the possibility of rather than this person going and retreating into a bathroom and allowing someone to barge down the hallways and start shooting, maybe it is possible we could add that to the castle doctrine to give them the ability to possibly take action to stop any kind of intrusion like that," Mahan said.

Mahan, a former Blackford County sheriff, should understand that while police officers are trained repeatedly to handle situations like this, the average gun owner isn't.

Firing at a person is not the same as firing at a paper or clay target or even wild game. Deer don't shoot back.

What if a civilian decides to shoot back and misses the shooter, hitting a child or teacher or other staff member instead?

Mahan said he isn't committed to introducing this legislation.

He also doesn't want to require armed personnel at every school. Those guards would take money away from educating children, and that money is scarce enough as it is. 

The Indiana General Assembly shouldn't consider Mahan's shoot-from-the-hip idea in the next session.

There must be thorough discussion not just of the practical implications of this proposed law, but also of the devaluation of human life.

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