One of Illinois’ leading gun-rights advocates urged state lawmakers Monday to pass legislation that would give school districts authority to arm school principals, teachers and even custodial staff with concealed weapons.
“The problem we have is a gun-free zone. We have a gun-free zone around a school. Every crazy person knows that. And so, the gun-free zone is like a magnet for the lunatics. He or she knows there won’t be any resistance there,” said Richard Pearson, executive of the Illinois State Rifle Association.
Pearson told the Chicago Sun-Times that lawmakers should pass a school-safety bill next spring, including the concealed carry authority for educators, as a response to last Friday’s Connecticut school shootings.
“There are a couple of issues. The first issue, of course, is had there been a security guard there who was armed, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said, referring to the Newtown shootings.
“Had there been a teacher who was armed, this wouldn’t have happened.
* But the Tribune points out an important fact…
Among the statistically safest places in this country: the 132,000 schools where we send 55 million of our children. And in the two decades since school violence peaked, those schools have been getting safer. Hurt a school, we wrote Sunday, and you hurt us all. But like commercial airline crashes, school assaults dominate our consciousness in part because they are so rare.
* From the Poynter Institute…
The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice points out: “A 2010 report on school safety found that during the school year 2008/2009 there were 38 school-associated violent deaths — in a population of about 55.6 million students in grades prekindergarten through 12.”
The same report said, “This report also noted that 83% of public schools reported no serious violent crime; 13% of public schools reported at least one violent incident to the police. The rate of serious violent crime at school was 4 (per 1,000 students) compared to a rate of 8 away from school.”
NPR reported, “School violence in the U.S. reached a peak in 1993, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That year, there were 42 [total] homicides by students and 13 ‘serious violent crimes’ — rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault — per 1,000 students at primary and secondary schools. By 2010, the latest figures available, those numbers had decreased to two homicides and four violent crimes per 1,000 students.” Update: After a commenter pointed out the implausibility of 42 homicides per 1,000 students, we checked the NCES data. The total number of homicides during the 1992-1993 school year peaked at 34. NPR is updating and correcting its story as well.
* Other stuff…
* Gun company’s shares are in line of fire - California Treasurer Bill Lockyer may order pension funds to pull investments, and Wall Street sells off stock.
* ‘Django Unchained’ premiere canceled after Newtown shooting