Thursday, January 17, 2013

Food for Thought on Gun Safety

Down here in "Vegasland", the National School Response Conference will be tackling matters of school safety. Here's a sample of what they will be discussing.

[School security consultant Amy] Klinger urged schools to adopt new, more proactive approaches to campus security. The former teacher and principal – who has studied decades of school shootings –showcased a set of new recommendations endorsed by the Department of Homeland Security called "Run, Hide, Fight."

Instead of remaining inside a locked-down campus with a gunman, students and teachers are advised to flee whenever possible, then reconvene at a common area outside of school.

If they can't run, teachers and students can hide, barricading themselves inside a classroom. If a classroom door has a hydraulic system, tying a belt around the mechanism could slow down a gunman, Klinger said.

Students and staff are urged to fight back with improvised weapons as a measure of last resort, Klinger said.

Sadly, it's come to this. No really, it's come to this. And the radical right still want to claim there's no gun safety problem?

Sadly, they still do. Also happening in Las Vegas this week is the SHOT Show, a show that's touted as the nation's largest and "premiere" gun show. Of course, some gun lovers there dismissed any evidence of gun safety problems and harshly condemned President Obama's gun safety reform agenda (though not even everyone there opposes all of it). This shouldn't be too surprising, as the SHOT Show is a nationally recognized hot spot for military grade assault weapons.

Yet even while some SHOT show participants complain about the growing demand for better gun safety, most gun owners actually SUPPORT the core of President Obama's gun safety plan! And even here in Nevada, some actual experts on this matter also support common-sense gun safety.

Washoe County Sheriff Mike Haley agreed that “we should close the loophole on private party purchases of weapons.” But he liked Obama’s proposal to take the gun-control legislation one step further.

“I do believe we should control access to assault weapons and limit access to high-capacity magazines,” Haley said. “In all cases, those who are permitted access to such weapons should be required to keep them in a safe or other locked container.

“Having safes and closing loopholes will go a long way to ensuring criminals do not have access to these weapons.”

Perhaps Sheriff Haley has looked at recent figures showing a strong correlation between tough gun safety laws and lower levels of gun violence. Or perhaps he's just speaking from personal experience. But whatever the case, he's likely onto something.

I've said it before, and I will continue saying it again and again until we see real gun safety reform. When did it become OK for our schools, our market places, and other areas of our community to become armed battlefields? This is just not conducive to a functioning market economy or democracy. Again, something must change.

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