Just days after many Americans marched against gun violence, Kansas lawmakers made their own statement.
Unfortunately, a bill loaded with bad ideas some believe would prevent school shootings only made Kansas look silly.
Several states allow teachers to have guns. Legislators on the far right in Kansas want to take that undesirable policy and make it even worse with their own foolish twists.
The bill discussed recently in the Kansas Statehouse would in essence mandate arming teachers by holding schools liable for shootings if they don’t allow teachers to possess firearms at work.
Kansas law allows teachers to have guns, but school districts rightly opted against the practice because their primary insurance carrier refused coverage if teachers and staff were armed.
The bill proposed in Kansas actually would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage in such a way.
Conservatives claim to detest government overreach that violates free-market concepts, but apparently not when there’s an opportunity to satisfy the gun lobby. Shame on policymakers at every level for not standing up to National Rifle Association bullies whose top priority is maximizing sales for gun manufacturers.
Loaded guns simply don’t belong in close proximity to schoolchildren — ever. Accidental discharges are a constant threat.
As for arming teachers as a safeguard, it’s flawed logic. The Parkland, Fla., shooting spree was over in about six minutes, killing 17 students and faculty. When an intruder charges in, it’s asking a lot of a teacher with students all around to go for their gun and stop the carnage.
Good people with guns who don’t have significant training also are more likely to err in life-and-death situations. Even well trained law enforcement officers sometimes make deadly mistakes under pressure.
Plus, teachers with firearms could accidentally be targeted by police officers bursting onto the scene in the event of a school shooting.
More guns won’t make schools safer. Devoting additional resources to mental-health support — bullying prevention and help, for example — must be emphasized in a state that recently made too many cuts to social services of all kinds.
While teachers always want to keep their students safe, asking them to suddenly morph into marksmen isn’t the answer.