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Guns are poor insurance policy for schools
Imagine, if you will, a car insurance policy that would cover you, your passengers and those in other vehicles in case of an accident.
So far, so good?
Now suppose that same insurance policy had a rider that allowed a computer to run an algorithm, on a rare, random basis, to take control of your car and cause it to swerve into the ditch, or allow a wheel to fall off, or let the engine seize up.
Not such great insurance, right?
But you have a right to buy such a policy, you insist, despite admonitions from your friends. You heard of someone, somewhere, who had their expenses covered by a policy just like yours.
Proponents of allowing teachers to carry guns in school see it as a form of insurance.
"Most people don't want to go where they know people are going to shoot back at them," said Sen. Mark Christensen, who plans to introduce such a bill during this, his last legislative session.
Christensen tried unsuccessfully to pass a similar measure three years ago, but after the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings claimed 20 children and six adults, six states, including South Dakota and Kansas, passed bills to allow teachers to be armed.
But there hasn't been a rush to arm teachers in Kansas, in part because of questions about liability insurance, a question that could derail a similar law in Nebraska.
Gov. Dave Heineman is a supporter of gun rights, but sees guns in schools as "an accident waiting to happen."
The Nebraska State Education Association, and most school officials -- even some whose schools have been the scene of shootings -- oppose the idea.
Christensen expected opposition from large school districts to his bill, which would also apply to colleges and universities.
But, it can take too long for law enforcement to respond to a school shooting situation, Christensen says, especially in the rural district he represents.
His bill would require a teacher who wants to carry a gun to get 24 hours of training from a Nebraska State Patrol-certified instructor, in addition to the eight hours already required for a concealed gun permit.
Only teachers approved by the school board would be allowed to carry concealed weapons, and identities of armed teachers would also be concealed.
It's true that response times might be slow in small, rural schools, where rifles and shotguns hanging in the rear windows of pickup trucks were common until federal laws forced young hunters to leave their weapons at home.
Guns, if they are deemed necessary, are best handled by professionals.
Unnecessarily adding romanticized, lethal weapons to the chaotic environment that sometimes exists in even the most well-ordered school, is asking for trouble.