Saturday, November 14, 2015

Guns In School, Safe or Insane?

Recent state legislation ruled that it is legal to bring a concealed gun to school.  Two weeks ago, father Kenneth Herman was caught with a handgun holstered to his person at Clio Elementary School, Michigan.  In response, school officials denied Herman access to school grounds.  Herman later sued and won his case.  It was said state law prevents people from "carrying concealed firearms on school property," however, "the law allows individuals with concealed pistol licenses" to carry weapons into schools.

The precedent used in Herman's lawsuit was a Michigan Court of Appeals decision which stopped a library group from banning the "open-carrying of firearms" on the library's properties. The school's District argued Herman misinterpreted the appeals court decision stating that the "ruling does not apply to school districts."  Yet the court judge leaned towards Herman's argument concluding that the creation of policies regarding weapons is  "beyond the legal authority of the school district." 

Now, Mr. Herman can go to Clio with his pistol holstered to his waist.  Herman states how he "hopes Clio school officials do not violate" the court's decision.

With gun ownership being a huge political and social topic in todays society, it is hard to recognize its constitutionality.  What do you think about the court's decision.  Should we, as American citizens, have the right to own a firearm?  Should school districts have more legal influence on this topic? 



Daniel Jun said...

This is legitimately interesting, and also very scary. There's an old saying, "people don't kill people, people with guns kill people." So when a madman infiltrates the school and begins executing students, who better than multiple armed parents to protect their children? Even if a law was passed banning concealed firearms at school, would a madman listen to it? No! At some point, people need to get over their fears of guns at school and understand that, in the real world, a person with a gun has a better chance of beating someone else who has a gun than someone who doesn't have one.

But, of course, it'd be best if the protectors had legitimate training...

Elliot Quan said...

I'm somewhere on the fence - I think that concealed carry isn't a big deal, but the problem itself is how students react to the presence of guns. I'm sure that bringing a firearm into the view of small children would cause a little more than mere curiosity, which is an argument cited in the NYT article by Sen Meekhof.

A bit tangentially, I think it's similar to how private entities can restrict smoking on their grounds - smoking is optional, breathing isn't--carrying a gun is optional, looking at it isn't. To me, it doesn't seem like a good idea to let anyone can just stroll into a children's environment carrying a weapon; requiring them to get a campus permit makes sense, but doesn't change the fact that children are still in the presence of guns. Do we need to ask the children whether or not they feel threatened? What even are the effects of seeing a legally owned gun being carried around in public when you're a kid? Perhaps we just let happen what happens - if concealed carry is deemed culturally acceptable wherever, then so be it.

However,I'm with Daniel on his point that murderers wouldn't really care about any regulation restricting them from bringing a gun onto campus - if anything, it'd probably be safer for the kids if the adults around them had guns. On the flip side, it makes it easier for any of those adults to suddenly snap and go crazy--but I don't think that's a problem of concealed carry as much as it is mental health.

Grant Hillman said...

Well, if the state law "allows individuals with concealed pistol licenses" to carry weapons into school, and Mr. Herman had his permit on him, then he isn't breaking any rules. If this was the case, then his lawsuit was definitely appropriate.

I believe that in regards to the question about allowing firearms on school grounds, the state governments should make the laws. When it comes to elementary schools, like in this example, I think that concealed weapons should be allowed as long as the carrier has a permit. In regards to university campuses, I also think that students should be allowed to carry concealed handguns, so long as they also have permits. With the recent spurts of university shootings and even stabbings, I think it is time that we allow university students to defend themselves.

Jonathan Liu said...

I think Daniel makes a good point. The goal of banning concealed weapons is to prevent shootings from occurring. This is a legitimate fear. Furthermore, I can't think of a reason why Herman would need to bring a gun to the elementary school anyway (although I'm sure he has his reasons).
The most important point, however, is that if someone was planning on going to the school to create a scene with the gun, chances are creating a rule banning guns wouldn't deter them from doing so.
Therefore, I believe that there's no real reason to barr concealed guns, which tend not to have much impact on anyone but can help a permit holder protect themselves if necessary.

Hannah Fontanos said...

Even though we can't trust that everyone would have good intentions, I think American citizens should have the right to own a firearm for the purpose of protecting others or for self-defense. Allowing people to carry concealed weapons with a permit supports a person's constitutional right to self-defense. I agree with Daniel's comment - restricting guns in schools wouldn't stop someone with malicious intent from bringing and using a gun at a school. As much as school districts want to keep children safe from the dangers of the world, I think they should also be teaching them how to handle life outside of the protective bubble of school. Having concealed weapons around children would teach them to view guns as a means of defense, not for harm. Also, having adults with concealed weapons around would probably make school children safer in the event of an attempted school shooting. But, referring back to Daniel's comment again, it would be much better if the adults with concealed weapons got training or knew how to properly and effectively use them.

Nicholas Tong1 said...

I will play the devil's advocate for many liberals and state that although the chance of seeing a school shooter can be quite remote, especially in safe neighborhoods, in the .01% chance that a shooter does in fact appear, students and the school body as a whole would be quite defenseless. Though the probability is small, the consequences not having a gun to defend oneself are ridiculously bigger.

Though bringing guns to a school may serve as a preventative measure for some cases, in many others, it may prove to be counter-productive. In other words, though the possibility of an outside shooter killing tens of children is lowered, the possibility of terrible accidents have increased. There have been numerous incidents of manslaughter in which the killer accidentally shoots his/her friend, family, etc. Furthermore, possible shoooters who are part of the school body now have a legal means of bringing a gun to school and causing terror (though said shooter would hypothetically be brought down quickly if other schoolmates carried guns, the damage would already be done).

Though one may argue that only students with licences are permitted to bring concealed handguns to school, such legal processes have holes in them and can be easily evaded. For example, despite the strict regulations and mandates placed on the sales of guns (especially rifles), obtaining a gun is still not too hard, as seen in the numerous shooting incidents in which killers and mentally ill people obtained firearms.

All in all, though allowing licensed people to bring concealed handguns will HYPOTHETICALLY lower the chances of school shootings, there are many new possibilities opened inside the school for dangerous accidents.