Guns in Schools

Glenn Reynolds talks about the topic, and the idea that when we had more guns in schools, we had less school shootings. I think the extinction of high school shooting teams has been one of the greatest cultural losses we’ve suffered. Glenn notes:

Reader Gary Robinson emails: “We worry about kids and sex – so we have sex education in school. We educate kids about driver safety, drugs, healthy lifestyles and a host of other things that we have concerns about so kids learn safe practices. If we’re worried about kids and guns, why don’t we teach basic gun safety in schools?”

I would say that the effort by gun-controllers to “denormalize” gun ownership, and to portray it as deviant and dangerous, actually increases the allure of guns to unbalanced minds.

I agree with that. I think long term, we have to get shooting teams back in high schools. It would have been something I absolutely would have taken to as a kid, if it had been available at my school. I was not involved in sports as a kid, but rather was a band geek. I still would have done band, but if a shooting team had been available, I would have done that. It gets kids away from the video games, and gives them something to do that requires a degree of self-discipline to master.

21 thoughts on “Guns in Schools”

    1. There’s already a wildly successful archery in schools program. I think that can be expanded, and in places it has been implemented, grown to include the shooting sports.

  1. It also requires enough concentration that it can help kids who otherwise might have some minor behavioral issues. I knew of several kids who were having trouble in school – especially in the classroom – and as they progressed in the shooting teams, their grades started to rise and were much better behaved for those long periods of sitting down and listening. It can teach them how to focus in a way some other sports can’t.

  2. I remember the “hunter/shooter” club when I was in middle school. It disappeared somewhere in the late 1990s. What a shame.

    As for “sex ed” in schools, yeah, we sure can can see what a success that turned out to be (sarcasm intended). Also, most schools no longer teach drivers ed as they did when I went through. But those are topics for a different time.

    Anyway, as a public school employee I see thought processes in place that mimic the pro-gun, pro-gun control debate the country is having now. Sadly, we are losing the debate within the schools. There are people in the majority in schools who want guns nowhere near anyone at all, even if those guns are on the hips of police officers. Some of that comes down to cost, and “armed guards” mean so many different things that they won’t have anything to do with that, either. You can kiss the chances of any school board approving CC without forced legislative action/intervention.

    Considering these perils, seeing anything having to do with guns and kids showing up in schools seems like a zero possibility, and this is in Lancaster County. If the NRA could make inroads in schools I would be very impressed would buy lifetime gift memberships for all my friends in that case. Yeah, not going to happen.

  3. Just to contribute to historical perspective, when I was in high school here in Bucks County (NHS ’63) there was a rifle team, but it was extremely low profile — and if you told me it never actually got off the ground at all I’d believe it.

    The only reason I remember that it existed at all, was that my dad uncharacteristically encouraged me to join it; but I was more interested in coming home after school, shooting on our own home range, or going out hunting or fishing. No organized sport could compete with those!

    But the point of my story is, even going back more than 50 years, school sponsored riflery wasn’t exactly a booming business; and back then the area was still quite rural.

    1. No organized sport could compete with those!

      So I might have thought, but I was amazed at what a good coach could do, plus learning to deal with the stress of competition was very useful. My two years on my school’s JROTC rifle team turned me from a fairly good to very good rifleman.

      Also helped that they had good rifles, Winchester Model 52s. Nothing fancy about the ergonomics, but accurate, with good sights and great triggers; I didn’t have access to anything even vaguely close at home.

      1. First let me say I’m not being argumentative, just thinking out loud and reminiscing.

        I think the question is, what is “fun.” It’s different things for different people. I got both of my kids started on paper-punching, and while they seemed to enjoy it well enough, shooting on a range just never really seemed to click with them as real fun. They seemed to enjoy shooting junk on the plinking range more than anything, but even with that, shooting at a club to some degree always had to be by the numbers, and that cuts into the fun. As adults they are not gun hobbyists.

        I contrast that to my own youth, when I got a BB gun when I just turned six, but from there was roaming the fields and farm dumps with a .22 — alone — just a year later. And two years after that was reloading my own shotgun shells. And it was glorious FUN, shooting cans and bottles and rats and sparrows and blackbirds.

        Now, I have been Director of Competitions for a small but national shooting organization, so I have nothing against competitive shooting; and I held records in that sport briefly. But when I outgrew that, it was just over, and what I long for is the days on the old dumps with my .22, pretending beer bottles 100 yards away were enemy soldiers 1,000 yards away. Because that’s what brought me to love guns, forever. Fun.

        1. Exactly; in my family I call it the Conservation of Boredom principle. Everyone in my nuclear family likes to fish … except me. When it comes to shooting there’s nothing I like better than punching holes in paper with some precision; none of the rest like that at all (lots of precision for rifles, handgun shooting is self-defense oriented so it’s not like I’m not trying to hit the dot (about the size of the hole made by a needle) that makes the “10” in ISO 50 foot smallbore targets).

          One difference between you and me is that by the time I was trusted with a .22LR, it was always under supervision until, say, high school. While I was growing up I had a BB gun and many a bullfrog fell to it (as a budding scientist I would dissect them after delivering the legs to my Cajun mother), but there just wasn’t much I could do with an underpowered, inaccurate, not much more than a toy BB gun. Although I did get rather good at stalking those frogs, since I had to get so close.

          It could be nothing more complicated than that Winchester 52: it was the first high quality gun I ever shot, not counting some shotguns because I suck as wing shooting (although that did make me fast at rifle snap shooting). So my time at the high school range was by a large measure the most rewarding in my development as a shooter. And to this day a good trigger is a non-negotiable for my rifles and handguns.

          1. Great talk!

            I was lucky because these parts were still genuinely rural when I was a young kid, so I could (e.g.) shoot at birds in the top of a tree and not care where the bullet went, because the probability of it doing harm was vanishingly small. And accidental discharges (I had one or two) went into the ground or a ditch and no harm done.

            (I had a Marlin .22 single shot that cocked on closing and had NO safety; and if you let the striker down the firing pin was resting right on the rim of the cartridge. So I walked around with cocked gun with no safety, until one day the trigger caught on a button loop and the gun went off; after which I carried the gun uncocked with the striker down, until one day I hit the striker on something and the gun went off. All of which scared the hell out of me. But by then I was big enough to start using my dad’s Mossberg 144L. Anyway, I suspect that model Marlin .22 caused many an accident, and these days they would have had their asses sued off in no time!)

            1. Exactly the problem (well, not the marginal safety of your Marlin, which at least burned Rule 2 into your mind!). There was absolutely no direction in which I could shoot a .22LR without making sure it hit the ground or water on our property. Even the one side where we did our clay pigeon shooting (now a completely developed subdivision) was occupied at the ranges a .22LR are lethal. So my father was there to make sure we were careful in aiming (we had and have various varmints to keep under control, with so many apex predators gone, and I think coyotes hadn’t quite yet arrived then).

              Squirrel hunting, which my father liked, and boy did and do we have a lot of those pestiferous electrical wire chewers on our property, was right out; early on, before we bought and moved to that property, and before I graduated to .22LR, my father took me on some hunts, but he by and large stopped doing that entirely, perhaps because our area kept getting built up, perhaps because my mother vetoed them as food (he and I only shoot pests and game to be eaten, and I know she eventually put her foot down WRT to mule deer, so he switched to elk and later moose).

  4. Kids are really hungry for this type of thing. I volunteer with the JR Rifle program at my sportsman’s club and we basically teach 4-postion small bore. It is encouraging to see so many kids get so excited to get involved and many times their parents have never even touched a gun.

    Part of the fight we have ahead of us is cultural. Here in the suburbs there just aren’t many opportunities to to things that used to common place in our society.

  5. Echoing HappyWarrior6, and the last Instapundit comment, down here in deepest Red State America the JROTC smallbore rifle team I used to be on was reduced to an air rifle team before the tornado destroyed the high school.

    The new Superintendent, who gets major praise for the post-tornado response, is utterly opposed to adding any guns to protect schools (I think there are some resource officers in the middle and high schools (we have 2 of the latter split by grades during the rebuilding)). I haven’t looked at the plans, but to the best of my and Google’s ability just now no range is planned in the rebuild. And it was a very nice and well ventilated one :-(.

    I knew we were in trouble when Arlington, Virigina, world headquarters of the US military, in the ’90s shut down their range and official sport programs based on it purely because guns were icky.

  6. I attended downstate Mamaroneck High School in the early 60’s and, as a transplanted upstate NY boy, missed shooting related activities. I found out the school had a smallbore rifle facility in the basement and actually encouraged curious students to, with proper training, utilize it. The school also fielded a four position smallbore rifle team. The rifle team coach oversaw the range and, if you showed some promise while shooting informally, might ask you if you were intersted in trying out. I made the team and enjoyed shooting for Mamaronek High in my sophmore, junior, and senior years against a number of local intramural high school teams. We earned letters and were recognized for our efforts along side all the other teams that represented the school. I still think about that team and even though I have been very lucky and blessed, it was one of the best times I ever had.

    1. Yes, but that’s exactly what Charlie Rangle is talking about when he just said “some of the southern areas have cultures that we have to overcome“.

      The Instapundit watches these people a lot more closely than I do, he may just be right when he said:

      Gun control is a way of rubbing Middle America’s face in the fact that it doesn’t run things. That’s the actual appeal.

      I’m certainly getting the feeling that this time it’s about a lot more than depriving us of our guns.

      1. Oh man, thanks Andy. Good to see that. And thank you Coach Puritz wherever you are.

  7. Shooting sports isn’t bad but the first step is to introduce “gun proofing” to young kids. Just to familiarize them with real firearms, how to handle situations where they might find a firearm unattended (thrown away by criminals, cop leaves it in the bathroom stall, etc.). So they know the difference between a real gun and a toy, between TV, movies, cartoon and video game shooting and real firearm discharge. I would go so far as the 4 rules for the odd situation where an older child feels they need to move a firearm to protect younger children.

    Hiding guns, banning guns, telling kids not to touch isn’t an effective safety strategy as it requires 100% performance and leaves a kid unprepared to remain safe should they encounter an unattended firearm. Or has a friend show them their Dad’s or Mom’s.

    Then when appropriate, shooting safety could be introduced. And shooting sports.

    1. As my wife and I have said repeatedly, “We decided it was easier to ‘gun-proof’ our kid than ‘kid-proof’ every single gun in the world she might ever encounter.”

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