The answer to school mass shootings is NOT more guns in schools   

Important Message from  LCDP Board Member Ralph Knudson

 Apparently, Republican leadership has decided that it’s OK to move beyond prayers after the last school massacre.  Robin Vos, Republican House speaker, and our area’s Coulee Conservative group have said that the solution for mass shootings in schools should be to “arm teachers”; and not to limit access to assault weapons in any way.  There’s actually nothing new about these statements..  Republican leaders depend on corporate gun manufacturers’ lobby money and talking points, and simply repeat them without question.   So let’s just explore this proposal a bit further, and put some thought into it: 

We now know that trained police in Uvalde were reluctant to actually go into the school classroom to confront the gunman, who was armed with an AR-15.  Instead, they waited in the hallway for border patrol agents to arrive an hour later, while the gunman continued to murder children in the classroom, even as still alive children called 911 for police help.  Why?  Did police feel outgunned?  Were they aware of the miserable odds of facing an AR-15 with their service revolvers?  

So what weapons would “experts” like Mr. Vos and the Coulee Conservatives recommend that teachers arm themselves with to confront the next shooter armed with an assault weapon?  A handgun?  What caliber? How many rounds?  Where should it be kept? On her/his hip? In a desk? Or should each school be required to have its own assault weapons on hand? Where? How about also arming custodians and administrators?  Just wondering….can’t be too careful. Writing meaningful laws requires such details…  

The assault weapons are out there: 20 million in the US since the assault weapons sale ban was struck down in 2004 by the US Supreme Court.  Before, we “only” had 400,000 assault weapons in civilian hands when the ban was in place.  With 120 weapons per 100 people in the USA compared to 20-30 per 100 in other developed countries, we now have 8 times the number of homicides per capita compared to those same developed countries.   Children now die by gun death more than any other cause in our country; mass homicides have tripled since 2004…and the rate is accelerating. But the gun corporations want us to pretend that those numbers don’t mean anything.  They simply want to sell more guns.   


If teachers would be required by law in Wisconsin to be armed, what type of weapons training would also be required to get and maintain a teaching certificate in Wisconsin?  Close combat, moving target training?  How would this impact teacher recruitment and retention and teaching quality?  Imagine a young college graduate hoping to be a kindergarten teacher under such circumstances.  He or she would be expected as part of teaching duties to rapidly and effectively pull out a weapon, without warning, in a classroom of children and bring down an intruder using an AR-15.  Such a shoot-out fantasy succeeds only in bad movies…with lots of choreography.   


Republicans also tout mental health support, but have not supported substantial ongoing state funding for mental health services in our schools for years, cutting funding for school counselors and socio-emotional support staff in past budget proposals. (What little research we have finds  that bullying and alienation was often experienced by mass shooters…often in schools)  So much for words and prayers without substance by Republican leaders. 


  Mass shootings have tripled since 2004… and are accelerating. Why is our country the only one plagued by repeated mass killings in schools and public places?  Will we become the only state or nation which “protects” our children and schools by  suggesting that the only answer is to require more guns and prayers in schools while we make it easier for almost anyone to get assault weapons?  

If you give these NRA Republicans your vote,  we will soon learn how effective their fear-stoked more-guns fantasies actually play out.  All they need is your vote ..or just your decision to stay quiet, and to NOT vote.  Same difference. 

Thoughtful information and discussion to develop multiple interventions against this complex public health crisis are needed, not pray and “return fire”  fantasies promoted by gun dealers.