Targeting Schools: The Mass Media and Politicians Are Correct in Saying That We Need to Come Up with Some Answers to Safeguard School Children, but Gun Control Laws Won't Keep Kids Safe

Article excerpt

The scene must have been horrific. Blood from bullet holes staining the shirt of young Luis Nevarez, a 13-year-old student at Edison Middle School, as he lay dying on the streets of South Los Angeles in June 2007. Friends ran away in terror from the criminals who had just murdered him, and this writer, his World History teacher, had to stand before his classmates the next day and tell them he was dead. Later it was learned Luis was shot by gang members who were looking for future rivals to kill. They asked Luis and his friends where they were from, and knowing that that question spelled trouble for kids from the wrong neighborhood, his friends fled. Luis didn't understand, answered the question, and was shot on the spot, leaving grieving parents, students, and an entire school behind.

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The Problem

The loss of students, or even youths in general, owing to gun violence can be very traumatic and calls out for an answer, and Americans do need to provide an answer. But what is being proposed in the national media and by politicians won't work--can't work--and will probably make the problem worse.

The media and many politicians want to continue with so-called gun-free school zones (which apparently draw those seeking infamy through bloodbaths) and limit the types of guns that can be sold, as well as the number of rounds that a gun's magazine is capable of holding--limit how many bullets it can shoot before reloading. However, none is a workable solution.

Gun-free school zones only stop law-abiding citizens from bringing guns to school. Any kid or adult could fill a backpack or coat with large pockets full of guns and ammo, and no one would be the wiser until he started shooting. Even when schools have metal detectors at the door, they are very often not used on a daily basis because using them is time consuming and the detectors are typically set up only by one set of doors, and armed thugs can typically get in other doors with little problem.

As to eliminating guns, there are an estimated 300 million guns in the United States, and even if strict gun control laws are passed, they won't limit access to weapons available to criminals. The result would merely be that more guns would be owned illegally.

The news website examiner.com reported in a December 2008 article entitled "Those peaceful Europeans own more guns than you think" that the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey showed that European countries with strict gun laws often have far more unregistered firearms than registered ones. The 2003 Small Arms Survey showed that France had a minimum of 2.8 million registered firearms, and between 15 and 17 million unregistered ones. And the number of unregistered guns doesn't appear to dwindle away over time. In Greece, the number of unregistered guns in the 2003 survey was 350,000. By 2005, the Greek government estimated unregistered guns at 1.5 million. Even strict Germany had an estimated 17 to 20 million unregistered weapons. Making gun control worse, the evidence shows that when criminals buy guns from the black market, instead of legal establishments, they tend to buy as much firepower as they can get for their money. They sought submachine guns and even machine guns.

It would be impossible to use gun control to de-fang dangerous people and effectively reduce the risk to people at schools or at other "gun-free" locations without putting literally everyone in a police state-monitored fishbowl.

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Moreover, guns become more accessible every day, not less. Guns have proliferated the world over for hundreds of years, made mainly with rudimentary tools, and now the advent of 3D printing, in which a machine can lay down layers of materials--including plastic and stainless steel--that are fused to create objects, means that guns will soon likely be able to be produced by anyone with the willingness and a few thousand dollars to spend on a printer. …