Our Editorial: Zero steps forward, two steps backward

Our Editorial: Zero steps forward, two steps backward

Photo credit: Abbey Cadieux

By The Editorial Board

The Michigan Senate is trying to use water to put out a grease fire.

During a time when mass shootings are becoming a common occurrence, there has been public outcry for both more restrictions and freedoms on firearms. The Senate is taking a pro-NRA, pro-Republican route by expanding gun freedoms across the state, rather than limiting access.

Senate Bill 584, which has passed both houses and is currently awaiting Gov. Rick Snyder’s approval, allows citizens with concealed carry permits to bring weapons into schools, churches, stadiums and other places currently considered gun-free zones.

Congress is justifying the legislation by stating that a majority of mass shootings occur in areas where there are bans on guns. Their logic is that if there are more citizens armed, they could potentially intervene and stop a shooter.

However, in an 11-1 vote, the Editorial Board feels that it is counterintuitive to combat gun violence by increasing the number of guns circulating school campuses and other public grounds. There will likely be few armed people in the school, and the chances of them actually stopping an active shooter are slim to none. Instead, it only increases the opportunity for dangerous situations.

If the bill receives Snyder’s signature, it will be enforced on a district-to-district basis. The Editorial Board urges Grosse Pointe Public Schools not to adopt this legislation in the event it passes.

The potential law is a step in the wrong direction for the state, and it also creates even more safety hazards for school administrators. Guns in schools not only perpetuate a hostile learning environment but can have fatal repercussions.

This is not the Wild West. The Pointes have some of the best police departments in the state in terms of response times. It is not the duty nor the expectation of a private citizen to take down an active shooter. The lives of the almost 7,600 students and faculty in the district are not the responsibility of those with concealed guns on their person. We pay taxes in return for a professional police department that is prepared to handle such situations.

If there is any concern about the safety of the schools, which is a valid feeling to have in the current climate, the school system should consider alternative options such as mandatory identification for students and staff or metal detectors. And if there is a serious demonstrated need for firearms in district buildings, they should be carried by trained professionals who are paid by the district, not by anyone over the age of 18 who passed the CCW  endorsement training segments.

Already, school administrators are working to make students feel safer in this age of gun violence. By increasing the police presence in schools, the number of armed professionals is already higher than past years. There is no need for additional firearms on campus.

If the bill is adopted, it would cause more trouble to enforce than potential good. CCW licenses would have to be checked by someone authorized to do so before a student or staff member brings their concealed weapon to school.

Even if this is completed, it still takes a certain level of trust among classmates and teachers to allow weapons on campus. Even with all the necessary precautions, guns could still fall out of their owners’ possession and into the wrong hands — or worse, into children’s hands.

Although these individuals would have to go through a certification course to be able to bring their gun into a “gun-free” zone, the Editorial Board feels this isn’t enough to replace that trust. Citizens spend more time in drivers training than learning to handle a fatal weapon.

It’s alarming to think that a teacher or the kid sitting next to you could be carrying a gun. School is meant to be a bedrock of learning and a safe haven for young minds. Firearms on campus make students fearful of each other and their educators, fostering a feeling of insecurity and hindering students’ ability to fully immerse themselves in their education.

Students should not have guns on campus. Faculty members should not have guns on campus. It’s that simple. A shooting can happen anywhere at any time. Allowing guns into more places only increases the chance of it happening exactly where you don’t want it to.