Letter to Editor – Gun Free Zones

House Bill 125-getting rid of gun-free zones is a bad idea. It was killed in the Senate Judiciary Committee, but brought back to life by Sen. Dave Kinskey, R-Sheridan, stating that the bill is “crucial to the protection of our Second Amendment Rights”.

Guns in schools is one of the most ridiculous and reckless ideas that I could imagine.

If kids and teachers have guns, would they be prepared to take on the shooter? As Senate Judiciary Chair, Bill Landen, R-Casper, suggests, if someone barged into a school or government building with an assault rifle, would anyone be able to get his gun out fast enough to stop the shooter? Even if they wouldn’t be too petrified to get their guns out, would they be capable of shooting the intruder, or inadvertently shoot another student or another innocent bystander?

Would knowing that there were armed students or teachers in the school really detour a shooter, as Sen. Kinskey suggests? Many shooters, it seems are expecting to die either being shot by police by or suicide, especially if the shooter has an underlying mental issue. But, of course, God forbid that we might have prevented the shooter from getting a gun in the first place or treated the mental health issue. But that is another issue for another time.

In our hypothetical gun-enhanced school, what kinds of guns will the students and teachers have, where will they keep them and what kind of training will they have?

The likelihood of a shooter entering a school or another gun-free zone is quite small. Although the media goes wild whenever there is a mass shooting, the actual number of people killed through mass shootings in this country pales in comparison to those killed in other gun-related violence.

According to the CDC, in 2021 (the most recent year that complete data are available), 48,830 people died of gun-related injuries in the US. Over 50% of these deaths were the result of suicide. Just under 50% were murders. The number of people who died in mass shootings in 2021 was 706 or 1.4%.

So, maybe we could best protect our government buildings, our schools, and our homes by decreasing, not increasing, the number of guns. Keeping our gun-free zones is just common sense.

Patricia Grantham

March 9, 2024