Confiscation and mass disarmament are pipe dreams. There are better ways to improve school safety.
Making schools safer and keeping guns away from people who shouldn’t have them are not mutually exclusive goals, even if our national discussions following tragedies like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., have tended to focus on gun control.
Civilians in America possess somewhere north of 300 million firearms, almost twice as many per capita as 50 years ago, and gun sales have continued to increase in recent years. Some amount of gun mayhem is probably inevitable in our society, and schools aren’t immune. The Second Amendment aside, forced confiscation or mass voluntary disarmament by law-abiding gun owners is a progressive pipe dream.
That doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands. Rather, it strengthens the case for taking practical steps in the short run to ensure that our sons and daughters return home from school each afternoon. While TV talking heads carry on about bump stocks, background checks and the villainous National Rifle Association, communities across the country are tackling the more immediate concern of school safety.
After the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the building was razed; a new structure was built on the same site and opened in 2016. It features bullet-resistant windows, reinforced classroom walls, and doors that can be locked from both sides. More schools have installed panic buttons and security systems that include cameras and require visitors to be buzzed in by staff. Regular lockdown drills have also become common and probably saved lives last year after a gunman in Northern California killed five people and then headed for a nearby elementary school. He was thwarted by a lockdown procedure initiated by school officials who had heard the earlier gunshots.
Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator.