Tom Horne: Not Having Guns in Schools Is "Inexcusable"
Now that Attorney General Tom Horne's suggested response to the Newtown, Connecticut massacre of schoolchildren has been proposed at the state Legislature, he's trying to defend his idea again.
House Bill 2656 allows a school's "principal or another designee" access to a gun on school grounds, in case of an emergency, and Horne says not having any guns in schools is "inexcusable."
"I believe it is inexcusable for teachers, students and school staff to be undefended," Horne says in a statement issued today.
Most people would probably agree that it's nice to have a police officer (armed, obviously) at every school, and Horne agrees with that as well.
However, we're not sure that the "next best" option is to give someone in the school access to a gun, which is what Horne claims.
"It would be ideal to have an armed Police Officer in each school," Horne's statement says. "But since budget considerations make that unlikely, the next best solution is to have one person in the school trained to handle firearms, to handle emergency situations, and possessing a firearm in a secure location. This legislation will accomplish that goal, and I am grateful to Representative Stevens for his work to get this introduced at the legislature."
Remember, a police officer is, well, a police officer, who spends a considerable amount of time working to protect the school. Under Horne's proposal, the "principal or another designee" spends their day teaching kids how to use computers, or cooking chicken nuggets, or mopping the floors -- whatever their actual job with the school district is.
Additionally, the cops stationed at schools have the guns located in a convenient position -- on their hip. The "principal or another designee" has to take a key to the box that's holding a gun on the school campus, retrieve the gun, then try to stop whatever event going on at the school that called for the gun.
In that same statement from the AG's office, the bill's sponsor, Republican Representative David Stevens, says the school's administrators are "responsible for the safety of children and they should be able to defend their campuses."
We'd have to side with any teachers who thought becoming the sole person at school responsible for taking out a deranged gunman was not in the job description.
The school-gun program would be optional, so technically, it would be considered excusable to not have a gun any given school.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.