April 4, 2013

Goose, Gander, Sauce

Reading this article on the local TV news website, and gotta chime in...

Several things hit me here.  First, it pains me to agree with a Union, but I agree: It's a good thing that the debate is being had, and that lawmakers are discussing it seriously.  Nothing is gained by NOT having the debate.  Sticking our collective fingers in our ears and shouting "LA LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA LA" isn't how adults should behave.

However, I don't like this bit:

A bill approved by a House committee on Tuesday would make Indiana the first state in the country to require at least one employee in every public or charter school to carry a loaded gun.

It's not that I object to armed citizens (duh) or think that a teacher packing heat is going to make kids less safe.  Nope, none of those.

It's that I object to the idea of forcing someone to carry a gun.

See, here's the thing: My idea of government is that its essential function is to ensure that I am allowed to live my life as I see fit, so long as I don't infringe on another's right to do the same.  If you want to smoke cigarettes, I think that's your business.  If Joe Public down the street wants to eat greasy food every meal, that's his business.  If Jane Smith in East Podunk wants to pray to Cthulu, she should be able to do so.

It is NOT my place to tell you, Joe, or Jane how to live, what to eat, who to worship, etc.  Nor is it my place to tell you that you MUST own a gun.

Do I support your right to own a gun and carry it for defense of self, kith, and kin?  Well, yeah, duh.  Have we met?  Beyond that, however, and more importantly, is that I support your right to CHOOSE to carry a firearm.  Or to NOT carry a firearm.

I support your right to make your own damn decisions.

Gun owners and advocates would do well to object to this bill in the Indiana legislature.  If we support a law that FORCES someone to carry a firearm, even against their wishes, then we have no choice but agree to any other law that forces people to do something else... like only eat organic vegetables, or only drink skim milk, or only drink 3.2 beer, or whatever other limitation is imposed on our person in the name of "What's best for you".  

If we, as many of us like to say, cherish our freedoms and liberties, then we must support freedoms and liberties for ALL people, no matter if their choice is the polar opposite of our own.

Otherwise, we're no better than the hypocritical politicians who call for gun bans while being guarded by armed people.

I like to think we're better than they are.


Dirk said...

If I lived in Indiana, I would definitely object to this bill. You're right - the .gov shouldn't be in the business of forcing people to do things like that.

That said, it's extremely likely, almost certainly 100% probable, that there is at least one person at every school in Indiana that is already a gun owner, who would be happy to step up and help their school satisfy such a requirement.

A better law, IMHO, is simply allowing concealed carry in schools, by anyone who has a permit. (Not familiar with CCW in Indiana, so not sure what their process is.) While it would be nice if school employees who carried got some additional training, I don't think it should be required...in part because I doubt any of them will ever have to use their guns to defend the students at the schools.

Even the most insane nutjob who is contemplating shooting up a school will know that someone - perhaps multiple someones - will be able to put a stop to him very quickly at any school in the state. Of course, this just means they'll move on to some other gun-free ...err...victim-disarmament zone to carry out their mayhem.

Jeff B said...

Getting a CCW permit (Indiana calls it "LTCH", for License to Carry Handgun) in Indiana is very simple: Fingerprints and money sent to the state police, and as long as you don't have a felony record, you'll get your LTCH as soon as they can process it.

Personally, I'm OK with saying "We will allow each school to decide, however if they want to allow firearms to be carried at the school, here's the recommended level of training." Many LTCH/CCW folks that I know don't train enough. That's not saying they can't aim well... range time is great and all... but I mean really TRAIN. Train for a situation where a shooter is in the school, you've got kids in the room, the shooter is at the other end of a long hallway, or the cafeteria, etc.

Training and target practice are not the same. And if we're asking teachers or janitors or such to protect the kids in the event of a school shooting, I think we'd do well to provide training options and help fund it.

Bobball said...

Your post is spot on.

If they want to pass a law that allows school staff to carry a weapon (provided they at least meet the minimum LTCH requirements for the state; training is another issue entirely), that's fine. However forcing someone to do it is just plain dumb...and dangerous.