School shootings have become a hot button issue for all sides of the gun control debate. Some use the violence as a rallying cry to do something about the number and types of guns in circulation, whether or not it would do any good. Others believe arming absolutely everybody at all times would somehow decrease violence. To be sure, most Americans fall somewhere in between these two extremes, but solutions have been hard to come by.
One solution often floated is to train security officers at schools to deal with threats as they arise in a very direct manner. Now one school district in Colorado is giving that a trial run by purchasing ten semi-automatic rifles for their security officers to use.
The move by the Douglas County School District is raising eyebrows, as guns tend to be a very emotional issue for many. Proponents point out that the best way to deal with a potential armed assailant is to neutralize them as quickly as possible, thus reducing the amount of damage they can do before armed authorities arrive. Opponents argue that meeting violence with more violence can escalate a dangerous situation.
The security officers will train with the local sheriff’s department for a minimum of 20 hours before they are assigned a weapon. There will be a total of eight security guards in the program. The officers are already authorized to carry handguns, so the new rifles will simply be an upgrade to existing equipment.
Colorado is no stranger to mass shootings. The Aurora theater shooting, the Planned Parenthood terrorist attack, and the Columbine massacre all took place within the Centennial state. In recent years, pro-gun control activists have pressured the state to disarm its populace in the wake of such attacks. In the aftermath of the Aurora shooting, ill-conceived laws were put into place by the state, leading to the recall of two state senators and the resignation of a third. Governor John Hickenlooper narrowly escaped with his job, as well, following his admission that the laws were ineffective and implying that it was jammed through as a knee-jerk reaction rather than a well-thought-out strategy to address the issue.
For their part, many members of the Douglas County School Board claim they didn’t even know about the new gun program, finding out about it through the media or on Facebook. The guns cost a little over $12,000, which came from the security budget, and was well below the threshold of $75,000 that would have required board approval.
The guns themselves will be stored in secured and locked locations throughout the day and night in order to avoid them falling into the hands of students or anybody other than those they are meant for. Time will tell whether this plan will help quell the violence of mass school shootings, and hopefully Douglas County will never need to find out.