School board members of Dolores County have just voted to allow the district’s school superintendent and principal to carry semi-automatic firearms on the job. The seven-member school board passed the vote unanimously last month and now they’re putting the new rule into effect.
While critics of guns in schools will likely frown at this news, members of the school district have expressed their support of the extra protection. Bruce Hankins, the superintendent of the district, told reporters, "We won't live our lives in fear, but we realize the world we live in today and need to do everything in our power to keep kids safe.” He added, "In most school shootings, they are over in just a few minutes. We will have immediate response capability."
The school board argued that placing guns in the hands of administrators was simply a matter of practicality. They cited a police response time of 40 minutes and a strained budget, arguing, “It is necessary to rely upon existing staff to fulfill the function of the needed security personnel.”
Laura Cutilletta, an attorney for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, argued that placing guns in schools simply subverts the law and endangers students. Besides, school administrators already have enough on their plate without also having to worry about keeping their firearms safe from school troublemakers and patrolling the halls in search of gun-toting villains, Cutilletta argues.
Unsurprisingly, the National Rifle Association supports the move, claiming that these steps will allow school personnel to protect themselves and students from deranged shooters. Others believe that the school district’s move undermines the legal system; shortly before the school board voted, the Colorado Senate dismissed a bill that would have made it easier for teachers to carry guns to schools. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper also recently signed bills into law that bans magazines holding more than 15 rounds and requires background checks for all gun sales.
Regardless of whether the school district’s decision is right or wrong, it’s fairly clear that it stands in stark contrast against other legislators’ gun control stances. Is this a case when small groups are standing up against larger government forces, or should this school district fall in line with the state’s gun control trends?
Sources: Associated Press