Weekly Spotlight 2/9/24 – 2/15/24
Achievable legislative solutions, not more gun control, will help keep our students safe
Earlier this month in Boise, the Idaho House of Representatives approved a bill allowing certain public school employees to carry guns on school property if they have a valid concealed carry permit. House Bill 415 clarifies that school employees who wish to carry a concealed firearm need to first disclose it to the school principal and superintendent. Current Idaho law allows employees to carry concealed weapons once the school board approves.
Boise is one of many state capitals that have prioritized protecting our nation’s schoolchildren in ongoing legislative sessions. Unfortunately, many of the solutions proposed by lawmakers are rooted in policies that will only chip away at the constitutional rights of responsible citizens while doing little to keep students safe from harm.
At the federal level, the Biden Administration has resorted to overly restrictive and ineffective gun control measures to address this, including a proposal to ban so-called “assault weapons” – a term many proponents of the ill-conceived policy struggle to define. That antiquated approach will not make our communities safer and instead punish millions of responsible gun owners across the country for simply following the law. Such policies would, in fact, only empower the violent criminals in this country who by definition, have no respect for the law.
The most common-sense solutions to securing our schools should have nothing to do with banning specific firearm categories or restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans. While proposals like House Bill 415 would provide classrooms with a tangible shield from violent criminals, lawmakers must be careful to acknowledge that in the event of a threat, the main priority for school employees is getting their students to safety. Our teachers – no matter how qualified – should only be a last line of defense.
While providing classrooms with this last line of defense is undoubtedly important, more consideration should be given to policy alternatives that have nothing to do with restricting law-abiding citizens’ right to self-defense. A more achievable solution lawmakers should pursue is expanding the availability of qualified school resource officers (SROs). Strict requirements on who can and can’t serve as armed SROs are depriving American schools of a powerful deterrent against criminals committed to harming our communities and our children. By extending SRO eligibility to include veterans and private security contractors, our schools will have better access to an effective means of safeguarding their students.
In addition to making life-saving SROs more readily available, states and school boards should follow additional steps to prevent criminals from accessing school property. Ensuring a single point of access, installing safety glass, and investing in security systems that alert law enforcement are easily attainable and potentially life-saving measures that elected officials should consider before obstructing law-abiding Americans’ right to self-defense.
OTHER NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
- The Columbus Dispatch (Opinion): Critics Wrong, Concealed Carry Bill Didn’t ‘Create’ Trouble For Ohioans. It Protects Them.
“This is a bill looking for and creating trouble.” “It makes it a lot less safe for all of us, including gun owners.” “Puts our communities at an even greater risk of gun violence than before.” Those were just a few of the dire warnings offered by various Ohio state legislators back in 2022 when the General Assembly passed and Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill to implement “constitutional carry.” It allows law-abiding Ohio gun owners to carry a concealed firearm in public without needing a permit from the government. Between anti-gun politicians and activists, there were numerous calls to oppose this bill, which they said would make Ohio communities less safe.
On January 28, 2024, Breitbart News reported that the Senate was taking up constitutional carry legislation, HB 3594, which had already passed in the House. On February 2, the Center Square noted the Senate passed HB 3594 by a vote of 28-15. But changes were made in the Senate, and the bill must now return to the House for approval. Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) are both warning that the changes made to HB 3594 must be stripped away in the House. For example, GOA is warning that the Senate additions to the bill put “increased penalties for Constitutional Carriers” in place.
- Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia House Backs Assault Weapons Ban, Which Could Face Veto
The new Democratic majority in the House of Delegates on Friday passed a bill to ban semi-automatic rifles and pistols, sending it on its way to a sympathetic Senate. But it will likely then reach a governor, Glenn Youngkin, who has said such bills are an unnecessary distraction, as Virginia already has what he describes as some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. While Youngkin has not said directly that he would veto it, legislators and lobbyists are betting that he almost certainly will. In a closely divided legislature, Democrats do not have the votes to override a veto.
Gun dealers at several Fresno stores have noted a jump in sales after a federal court ruling found unconstitutional California’s law requiring background checks for ammunition purchases, a measure in place since 2018. Sales of all types of ammunition were “maybe double,” at PRK Arms, a longtime gun dealer near Olive and Clovis avenues in southeast Fresno, employee Anthony Beuster told The Fresno Bee on Thursday. Beuster and others in the firearms industry said the surge was likely due to the ruling Wednesday by Federal Judge Roger Benitez of the federal District Court in San Diego, who issued an injunction stopping enforcement of the law.