Renfroe, Harvey Introduce “More Guns In Schools Act”

Ed News Colorado:

The gun measure is Senate Bill 13-009, which would allow school boards and charter school boards to adopt policies allowing a district or school employee to carry a concealed handgun on school grounds if that person holds a valid concealed-weapons permit. The sponsors are GOP Sens. Scott Renfroe of Greeley and Ted Harvey of Highlands Ranch and freshman Rep. Lori Saine of Dacono. The bill was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, not Education.

The bill isn’t expected to make it far in the Democratic-held Senate, of course, but it’s the first chance Colorado Republicans have had to carry out the recent call to action by National Rifle Association director Wayne LaPierre. In the aftermath of the recent school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, LaPierre came out for armed guards in all schools.

We’ve been wondering how the stated desire for essentially more police officers of the kind already assigned to many Colorado schools–which would necessitate funding to pay for them–was going to reconcile with the simultaneous desire by (generally speaking, anyway) the same conservatives to cut public sector funding of every kind. As you can see, this bill neatly sidesteps that problem by allowing existing school employees with concealed carry permits to bring their personal guns. No costly unionized certified public safety officers needed!

One little problem, though: as soon as you start talking about how people with guns around your kids don’t need this or that certification, you’re going to lose a lot of soccer moms.

Remember also, as we pointed out last month, that Columbine High School did have an armed police officer on campus in April of 1999, who was unable to stop the killers there. Combined with the lack of requirements other than a concealed carry permit, and this is an especially problematic solution in search of a problem. Obviously, the bill is going to die. But Democrats need to be sure in our gun-friendly state that they thoroughly explain and debunk the underlying issues behind it. This issue will always be fraught with emotion and public misconceptions, and Democrats have an obligation to take that educational challenge seriously.

Politically, the less rational this debate becomes, the worse it goes for Democrats.

20 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. cybersoul says:

    When you write “the less rational this debate becomes, the worse it goes” — the job of the Democrats is made more clear, as I think the gun-fetishers look like loons.

    And then it becomes simple: stop the crazy.

    And that would be the Democrats job. Again. Stopping the crazy (of the GOP) in all its forms has been a full-time task for Liberals.

    • PitaPita says:

      Although I have to say I have heard from/read where moderate Republicans and a large number of Independents think the NRA’s position is totally irrational.  

      • cybersoul says:

        I think that is what it will come down to.

        The crazier the NRA becomes, the harder it will be for most people to defend them. They’ve almost become a parody of themselves.

        As selling fear and paranoia has become the bellwether of the GOP, I’m thinking only the truly deranged will follow them.

        • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

          to thank for the incredible quickness with which the public can now become informed.

          The infection that has invaded the Republican Party has spread to a number of its extremities.  🙂 heh.

        • It is unclear whether Wayne Lapierre miscalculated  with his “good guy with a gun” speech, or if the only people left in the NRA are those who agree with Lapierre asinine positions.

          There will come a point where the NRA will become irrelevant if they keep this nonsense up: e.g. advocating a constitutional right to own surface to air missiles. However, it’s not clear we’ve reached this point yet.  

    • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

      But there are a lot of people out there with silly attitudes about guns that they inherited. Even a lot of good libs. I do think Dems should explain why they are smarter than this.

  2. Craig says:

    I think Democrats should do the same thing that Democrats and Republicans did when we defeated the “partial-birth” abortion ban 40-25 in the Colorado House.  They should shut their traps.  Someone in committee should make a short, specific and bullet-point answer for the press.  The rest should “stand mute.”  And, they need to just plain shut their mouths about this bill any time during the session.  If you give the press nothing to talk about, they will go away.  If you give them a boring, point by point response that they can copy into their story, it becomes a one-day story and you can get on with the real business of this session.  The only hard part of this is to get politicians to shut the hell up.  It worked for us in the pro-choice community.  It will work for the gun control community too.  People are tired of teh posturing and the blabbering by politicians.  So, Shut-The-Hell-UP and get this bill dead as soon as possible.

  3. It will be interesting to see in the coming years the boundaries of the Second Amendment: e.g. can employers prohibit employees from carrying in the workplace, or do individuals have a constitutional right to carry a gun to work? Do individuals have a constitutional to right to carry, openly or concealed, in public places?  

    These issues and others will be litigated sooner or later-the challenges to Chicago and Washington D.C.’s gun bans are only the beginning. At some point in the future, there could very well be litigation over what exactly constitutes “mentally ill” as it relates to restrictions on buying guns.  

    • But I think we (i.e. the courts) are done with expanding gun rights generally.

      Employers are able to control their premises, and the SCOTUS just turned down an appeal about a Georgia law that forces gun carriers to declare their weapons and follow disarming/storage instructions at churches and certain public buildings (the challenge was re: the church portion).

      The current SCOTUS still seems to be okay with limiting guns in certain sensitive public places, too (schools, courtrooms).

      Successful litigation on gun rights will be on the undefined edges, I think; things such as your last suggestion – what level of “mentally ill” is too much for gun ownership, or how long can someone with a restraining order be prohibited from owning a gun.

      • The problem is what constitutes being “mentally ill” is subjective, especially as it relates to the Second Amendment.  

        Does it mean anyone who’s been involuntarily committed at some point can be permanently barred from buying a gun? If not, under what criteria, should someone be able to buy a gun?

        Does “mentally ill” mean someone we judge–correctly or incorrectly–to be a danger to themselves or others but has never been involuntarily committed?

        Does “mentally ill” mean that anyone who is  under the care of a psychologist or psychiatrist (or has sought such treatment in the past) can’t buy a gun?

        I don’t profess to know the answers to any of these questions, but defining what exactly constitutes “mentally ill”, for purposes of deciding who can’t buy a gun, is a lot more complicated than many people (on all sides of gun policy) seem to realize.  


        • The laws already cover mentally ill persons buying guns – the biggest gaps in those laws are in the reporting.

          If anyone who’s ever gone to see a shrink was ineligible, either no-one would ever go to see a shrink, or no-one would ever own a gun.

          I don’t know the full details of the law, but the only mental illnesses tracked are basically ones that would result in violent tendencies – and then I think mostly those that result in incarcerations.

          • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

            to such a complex problem. I am a believer in gun regulation, but within that regulation, I believe I have a right to own my guns and I intend to keep them.

            The position, however, that the 2nd Amendment gives you a right to own an AR-15 and a banana clip doesn’t pass the rational nexus test. There is no rational reason for a citizen to possess such a killing device…only irrational ones.

  4. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    Speaking of Wayne LaPierre and his “More Guns — Less Arts and Music in School” proposal (I can’t embed the video clip):

    The reason for the recent rash of gun violence, Colbert surmised, “has to be that America is the only country in the world that has video games. We’re the only country in the world that has violent movies and the only country with crazy people. Well, maybe not the only country, but we’ve got the craziest people – and if you don’t believe me, you don’t have to take my word for it.”

    Colbert cut to a clip of LaPierre on “Meet the Press,” telling host David Gregory that if it’s “crazy to call for armed officers in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy.”

    Said Colbert: “Folks, I don’t know about you, but I agree with Wayne LaPierre. You, sir, are [expletive] in the head.”

  5. thiokuutoo says:

    It is a shame that single subject rules the day.  It would have been a real laugher to see a “Gays, Guns and God” bill in the hopper.  I can only imagine what the fruitcakes could come up with for a bill like that.

  6. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    CNN – Youth fires shotgun at 2 high school students, hits one; suspect in custody

    First off, the teachers that talked the kid down are amazing. Second, once again a school with an armed police officer assigned – but out today.

    The last thing we need is fire fights in the hallways. We need to work to insure that no guns get to the schools, not more guns.

  7. It’s really not that new of any idea . . .

    . . . It’s  just that Republican of an idea.

    h/t Bill Moyers

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