Armed Guards are Not the Answer

Several gun shooting tragedies have plagued this nation in the last year. It seems that nowadays, each month there is a new shooting at a different school or public place. This past week, a local Houston DJ said on the air that regrettably, she is no longer surprised when she hears about a new shooting because they have become so common. In response to the seemingly increasing number of shootings, the N.R.A. announced its plan to end these tragedies.

According to a New York Times article by Eric Lichtblau and Motoko Rich, “N.R.A. Envisions ‘a Good Guy With a Gun’ in Every School,” the N.R.A. first blamed the recent shootings on “violent video games, the news media and lax law enforcement.” Then it announced that in order to cease shootings in schools, there should be armed security officers at every school in the country. The N.R.A. even called on Congress to make this plan happen. About a week later, the N.R.A. President clarified the original position of the group saying that “Whether an individual school wants that kind of protection or doesn’t want that kind of protection is really up to the individual school.”

Currently, about a third of the public schools in the country have some sort of armed security. However, after the N.R.A.’s call to arms, many more schools are considering it, including the school district I grew up in.  However, not everyone agrees that schools should employ armed guards. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that arming schools would not make them safer.  Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy said that “Freedom is not a handgun on the hip of every teacher and security should not mean a guard posted outside every classroom.” The New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that he “doesn’t think you’re going to be able to stop someone bent on suicide just by having an armed person there.” Additionally, there was an armed guard during the Columbine tragedy, but that did not stop the shooting.

Another concern about armed guards in schools is the risk of someone else getting a hold of their firearms. In fact, just a couple weeks ago, a Michigan armed guard left his firearm, thankfully unloaded, in a bathroom used by students. Putting more guns in schools is not the answer to keeping our children safe at school, the mall, or the movie theater. I couldn’t say it any better than the reigning Miss America, Mallory Hagan, when she answered an interview question about armed guards in schools during the competition with “I don’t think the proper way to fight violence is with violence.”

Yes, these tragedies are all too common and should not be happening. Yes, our schools need to be safe. However, the answer is not armed guards. What is the answer you may ask? There may not be a clear cut answer and that is terrifying, but what is more terrifying is putting more guns in our schools. A solution to stop school shootings will depend on each individual school and its environment. However, an across the board hiring of armed guards is not the correct solution to this problem.

Allison Arterberry

About Allison Arterberry

Allison Arterberry is a third year student at the University of Houston Law Center. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2011 with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish. She has spent parts of her last two summers interning at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Currently, she is a Senior Articles Editor for the Houston Journal of International Law, the Secretary for the Labor & Employment Law Society as well as a member of the Career Development Student Advisory Board and the Association of Women in Law. Additionally, last year she was the Secretary for Aggie Law Society. Allison is most interested in child victim’s rights in the criminal system.

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