Saturday, March 15, 2014

Guns and Letters

I am primarily posting this for my friend, Jeannine.

As one who is constantly working toward a peaceful spirit, I felt pretty unpeaceful when I wrote this -- I was steaming a bit, and my first few versions were fairly vitriolic.  Edit, edit, edit, and this is what I sent in:

March 14, 2014

Letter to the Editor, Seymour Tribune:

On his facebook page on Thursday, March 13, Representative Jim Lucas claimed victory with the passage of Senate Bill 229, concerning firearms matters

As passed on Thursday, SB229 allows for the following: prohibition of taxpayer-funded gun buyback programs in Indiana; the sale of guns owned by convicted individuals (in cases of non-felony convictions) by police authorities, with the profits from the sale (minus sale expenses) returned to the individual; legal possession of guns at school function off of school property, including field trips, proms and graduation ceremonies (if guns are allowed at those venues); legal possession of guns in their cars by individuals in public school parking lots, provided those cars are locked and the guns are not in plain sight; and, prohibition of individual school district discretion regarding whether or not employees may have guns in their cars in school parking lots – they can.

It is important to note that this bill was opposed by the Indiana State Teachers Association, the Indiana Association of School Principals, the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, the Indiana School Boards Association and the Indiana Urban School Association. As noted in the February 28th edition of The Tribune, school superintendents in Jackson County opposed the bill. In short, the bill was opposed by those most closely affected by its passage. Why Representative Lucas supported, voted for, and rejoiced in the passage of this bill when top educators, administrators and his own constituents condemned the bill is a mystery to me, but one that seems to be in keeping with our current Indiana Legislature's mindset that those in the State Capitol building understand more about our schools and children than those who actually work in our school buildings with our children.

I could write pages of my thoughts on gun control. I have discussed the Brady Bill/Law and Gabby Gifford's Americans for Responsible Solutions with dear friends and beloved family who carry weapons. I'm not going to argue with anyone's right to own a gun, because let's face it, I lose. The NRA, its massive reach and its powerful lobby are smarter and more powerful than I am; despite Representative Lucas' claims of victory, it was the NRA who won on Thursday.

Our job as parents, as educators, as legislators, as humans is to keep our children safe. Representative Lucas and I probably agree on that. However, Representative Lucas believes that easy access to guns will help keep our school children safe. I feel much more frightened knowing that this close proximity to more guns simply puts more school children at risk of accidental (or even more horridly, intentional) shooting. Our schools should be refuges of peace and safety, and I believe the safest place for any child is as far from a gun as possible.   

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