Four years to the day after the tragic Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, a school district in Colorado adopted a policy to allow teachers and staff members to carry guns on their campuses, according to KRDO-TV news.
There is no small amount of irony in this because the Hanover School District’s decision is not the first of its kind. In the years after the school massacre, several districts including the Toppenish School District near Yakima in eastern Washington have decided to allow teachers and staff to carry guns.
It is something of an affirmation that what Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association said several days after the Sandy Hook tragedy: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
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However, it has yet to be acknowledged that what many schools have often quietly done over the past four years is exactly what the NRA had suggested. There just seems to be no interest in admitting that the NRA was right.
What happened at Sandy Hook on that day in December 2012 brought to public attention an issue that had been festering for many years, and continues to this day: the façade of safety in a so-called “gun-free zone.” Many, if not most mass shootings in recent years have occurred in places where firearms are prohibited, either by law or by the decision of a private property owner, such as a shopping mall or theater.
The Hanover school board decision was split 3-2. While not everyone is convinced that arming teachers or school staff will give students a chance in the event of an attack, proponents of guns in schools contend that the alternative – a gun-free school – removes the option of fighting back at all.
On Wednesday, the anti-gun Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America sent an email blast over the name of founder Shannon Watts. Her organization used the Sandy Hook anniversary to raise money.
Meanwhile, in school districts such as Hanover and Toppenish, the interest is clearly in saving lives.