Two common-sense proposals that would reduce school shootings significantly

Ten years after the unimaginable Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 26 people dead, including 20 children, the unimaginable happened again in Uvalde, Texas: Nineteen boys and girls were executed in their classroom, along with two teachers, by a shooter under the age of 21. Police reportedly were almost criminally slow in responding, even going so far as to prevent a Border Patrol tactical team from going in. 

The response has been exactly what one would expect politically: On the left, a call for stricter gun-control measures and expanded gun-buyer background checks; on the right, a call to address mental illness and pledges to defend the Second Amendment at all costs. 

“As a nation, we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” President Biden said earlier this week. “When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?” 

“Inevitably, when there’s a murder of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it, you see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said. “That doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.” Cruz will attend a National Rifle Association convention in Texas over the weekend — an event that should have been postponed out of respect for Uvalde’s devastated families.

You already know what happens from here: Each side will pump up the rhetoric to inspire their bases. Social media will be dominated by argument, changing no minds in the process, all in an attempt to place blame or to portray one party or the other as dangerous monsters. Some quarters of cable news will run segment after segment also seeking to place blame on one political party or the other. The country’s division will hit new levels, if that’s possible. 

And then, when the news cycle takes the story out to sea, very little will change in terms of policy or solutions. Very little.

If looking for middle ground – and there is some to work with – perhaps we should look at two areas: (1) Universal enhanced human security and (2) reducing the chances of a shooter buying a gun without stepping on the Second Amendment. 

Regarding the first proposal, why don’t we place retired police officers, retired military or even active-duty police behind bulletproof glass at one entry point to every school in the country? If this costs a few billion dollars per year, so be it. Our children cannot be under constant threat or fear of being soft targets for the mentally unstable, especially someone who could look nine-year-olds in the eye and execute them. In a world of multitrillion-dollar budgets, this should be a no-brainer. 

If a shooter wants to enter a school, he’ll first have to deal with this trained officer, protected by bulletproof glass. The officer can then call for backup while the school remains unbreached. 

Is this proposal foolproof? Of course not. Nothing really is. At Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, for example, a door was propped open by a teacher, allowing the gunman to enter the school.

As for some common ground on gun control, it’s paramount to note that in almost every instance of a school shooting, the shooter was under age 21. That was the case with Columbine in 1999, with Sandy Hook in 2012 — and now with Uvalde, where the shooter purchased two rifles just after his 18th birthday. 

If a person needs to wait until he or she is 21 to have a drink legally, then there should be no problem having to wait until they’re 21 to have a rifle legally. A common counterargument to this is that a person can serve in the military and be issued a gun under age 21. But these people are properly trained in firearms, in a controlled environment. It’s not much of an argument at all. 

Can a person still steal or borrow a gun under this proposal? Of course. Again, nothing is foolproof, making the first of these two proposals even more critical. 

If these two things are done, we won’t eradicate school shootings completely, but they can be significantly reduced. There have been 27 school shootings thus far in 2022. At this pace, we’re looking at 60-65 school shootings this year. 

Our leaders in Washington can’t afford to wait another second to act. They need to find the middle ground and apply common sense. And if Congress cannot act, then individual states – right down to each school district – should. Our children and parents across the country deserve nothing less. 

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist.

Tags Biden Gun control. Mass shootings Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting school shootings Ted Cruz Uvalde school shooting Uvalde school shooting Uvalde shooting

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