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More guns in schools is never the answer

Local South Florida school teachers discuss the proposal to arm teachers, school hardening, their experiences with safety drills and how prepared they feel in the event of an emergency.

I am responding to two recent letters to the editor regarding guns and gun control, “We should arm teachers” (March 15) and “Tough sentencing is the answer” (March 16). In the former, the author argues that arming teachers is the best answer to safe schools. It’s interesting how quickly those actions proposed to make it harder to obtain guns — raising the age limit from 18 to 21 for automatic weapons purchases and strengthen background checks which were strongly opposed by the NRA — are now no longer actively supported or worked as a priority by President Donald Trump or Congress. But a measure that would actually add guns to the environment, arming teachers, has no opposition from any pro-gun group.

The flaws in arming teachers have been well articulated by many, clearly making the case that teachers with guns would not only be largely ineffective, but would also likely end up in even worse gun-related consequences such as teachers accidentally shooting students or other teachers, or their guns falling into the hands of bad actors within the school system. Regarding tougher gun sentencing as the answer to to mass shootings, the author conflates automobiles and knives as equal ‘tools” of death, which is ludicrous. Automobiles have a primary purpose of transportation. Knives have a primary use of cooking or general utility. While both can conceivably be used for killing someone, the same could be said for a long list of other commonly available items (hammers, private airplanes, etc.). Guns are different. The primary purpose of guns is to shoot to kill — there is no other purpose.

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As for automatic weapons, that purpose extends to killing large numbers of people in a short period of time. Tougher sentencing is a worthy objective, but it is an “after the fact” action — the killing has already been done. Banning the purchase, ownership, possession and use of automatic weapons is a “slap your forehead” logical answer to mitigate this horrendous problem. Any other lesser action is just a delay tactic to put off action until the next mass shooting occurs — and it will.

Jerry Cothran, Baltimore

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