Ex-Cop Calls for Guns on Campus
Ex-Cop Calls for Guns on Campus
as published in FamilySecurityMatters.org
As Americans living in what is generally a safe society, we have come to rely on our law enforcement and fire/EMS professionals to respond rapidly when our lives are in peril, and thus to keep us safe. However, as a police officer and an “insider”, I also know that law enforcement is not always there when people are faced with life-threatening danger. Moreover, the sad reality is that many in my profession — who are also aware that law enforcement is MIA in too many extremely threatening situations — ironically are placing obstacles in the way of citizens who want to protect themselves when such danger risks their very lives. Last week, in the shadow of the one-year anniversary of the carnage, suffering and evil that was visited upon innocent students at Virginia Tech, I had the privilege of participating in an effort to reduce the likelihood of similar incidents in the future.
I was fortunate to be one of forty participants chosen for a federally-funded forum on reducing gun violence in schools. I will discuss some of the details of this forum in another column, as I believe some of the solutions discussed will be truly effective safeguards against future incidents of school violence. However, one exchange in this forum concerned me that some in the law enforcement community are reluctant to learn from the past and may unintentionally create conditions that are likely to lead to significant loss of life in future school shootings.
At one point in the forum, a police chief from a town that is home to a major midwestern university offered his concerns about the growing calls to allow “concealed carry” of firearms on college campuses. While this police chief did not expressly state his opposition to “concealed carry” on campuses, I as well as others inferred from his tone that he was not likely to support or embrace the idea.
It has been said that those who do not remember the past are destined to repeat it. I do remember the past, and I did not let the concerns expressed by the chief go unchallenged. I remembered that a school shooting at an Appalachian Law School was stopped by two students who retrieved firearms from their vehicle and forced the gunman to drop his weapon, and held him at bay until he was physically subdued by other students. I remembered an Assistant Principal in Pearl, Mississippi who retrieved a firearm from his vehicle and held a shooter at gunpoint until Police arrived. I remembered a restaurant owner who ran to a school shooting in Pennsylvania, shotgun in hand, to stop yet another school shooting. Finally, I remembered an off-duty police officer, registering his child for school, who intervened in another school shooting near San Diego.
Several years ago the Secret Service conducted an extensive study on school shootings and among their key findings was the fact that the overwhelming majority of incidents of school violence were finished by the time law enforcement arrived on the scene. It has been demonstrated both statistically and anecdotally that far more often than not police fail to arrive in time to stop the carnage. Instead they arrive after the fact to clean up.
On a daily basis, law enforcement professionals preserve and protect the First, Fourth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of dangerous criminals even when it means the person may go free. However, too many in the law enforcement community, especially those at the policy making level, refuse to defend with equal vigor the Second Amendment Rights of innocent law-abiding citizens.
Although, fortunately, I have never had to respond to a school shooting, as a ten year SWAT veteran, I have trained in dozens of schools and have been forced to confront the “what-ifs” associated with a school shooting. I have learned many tactical lessons from these training exercises. I have also learned that I am unwilling to tell the loved ones of school violence victims that their sons or daughters are dead merely because our government decided neither the victims nor their schoolteachers or administrators were permitted to defend the murder victims while they were fighting, hiding, or praying for their lives. Therefore, I will be silent no more.
I plan to fight within the law enforcement community to remove opposition to allowing people to protect themselves and each other. Those people with CCW (Carry Concealed Weapon) permits should be allowed to carry their weapons upon school grounds whether they are students, teachers or staff. I intend to convince others of the merit of this position and assist others who wish to do the same. A school environment is unique due to the density and proximity of people and some reasonable regulations and controls regarding firearms usage should apply. At a bare minimum, anyone wishing to carry a concealed weapon at a school should be required to meet the minimum qualifications for the state where they intend to carry. It also makes sense that a University or School District should institute other reasonable restrictions such as additional training and requirements about the security level of holsters to be used.
I also urge teachers, students and parents who do not want to see more innocent victims bleeding and dying on our nation’s campuses to stand up and fight for our inherent right to self defense. The facts are on our side: law enforcement will probably arrive too late, increased carrying of concealed weapons where permitted has reduced crime, CCW permit holders are overwhelmingly law-abiding citizens and lawfully-armed citizens prevent or stop hundreds of thousands of crimes nationwide each year. Without people knowing these facts, we cannot prevail. No one person can win this fight but we can do it together. Let us begin by initiating the debate.
After I challenged the thinking of those seeking to prevent citizens from defending themselves, a fire chief present at the forum congratulated me for having the “courage” to speak out and confront the politically correct tide. It is a sad day when standing up for our Bill of Rights is called courageous. Whether it takes courage is irrelevant; it is something that must be done, and I’m willing to do just that and help anyone else who wishes to do the same.