Move slowly adding more guns to schools

Bismarck school and police authorities are considering investing in AR-15 rifles among other equipment to theoretically make schools safer by increasing the potential firepower of school resource officers.

Wanting to secure schools is a universal objective and there are numerous theories about how to do just that, from arming teachers to hiring combat vets to protect schools to investing in preventative measures such as hotlines or adequate psychological resources. Each idea has its supporters, its merits, its weaknesses. Some are downright reactionary, which can be understandable in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shootings and others.

Some questions to consider for schools considering an approach such as that being discussed in Bismarck might include:

How does one secure these dangerous weapons with certainty? Oh, there will be designated spaces, secure spaces, gun lockers, limited access. All good. Secure spots are good. You know a few other secure spots? Airport runways, where security prevents dangerous lone wolves from stealing planes and crashing them? Other places that would seem secure? How about weapons lockers on Air Force bases and armored Air Force vehicles manned by trained military.

Sometimes, things happen…

Are school resource officers trained how to use AR-15s? Are not these usually military and SWAT type weapons? How long does it take to become proficient? How long does it take to transform a school resource officer into Carlos Hathcock?

How long would it take a school resource officer to become aware of an incident, move to a secure zone, acquire a rifle and get into the combat? Since most school shooters are current or former students from said school, are we to assume a crazed gunman is going to ignore the secure gun locker zone when making plans? Having a specific strategy seems to be common among school shooters.

A cache of high-powered weapons sure makes for an interesting target for the ill-intended with a few resources, doesn’t it?

If there is something we have learned from mass shootings in recent years, it is that in almost every case the shooter exhibited behavior and/or made comments that should have set off every warning signal in the book. If authorities had done their jobs, Parkland never would have happened.

It seems a lot of more extreme measures are proposed because existing systems don’t work or are easy to circumvent. It’s also easier to assign responsibilities to police so we can ignore more complex issues such as inadequate mental health services, the breakdown of the American family and inefficient bureaucracies.

How does the Bismarck proposal rate?

That remains to be seen.