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The Last Thing We Need Is MORE Guns In Our Schools And State Houses

Author’s Note: Before I go on what is sure to be a highly controversial rant I want to make it very clear.  I believe in a person’s right to own a gun. Nobody, I mean nobody, is talking about taking away all guns. However if you own a semi-automatic weapon that has a 30 plus round magazine then your darn right we are coming for your guns.  

Yesterday was the memorial service for the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  Just after 9am nearly every media outlet in America stopped for a moment of silence for the victims.  They rang a bell 26 times for every victim who perished in the deadly school shooting.

The events in Sandy Hook has reignited an age old debate over gun control.  To me the most appalling thing was listening to the  National Rifle Association’s press conference after the memorial service.  The NRA implied that the reason for such tragedies like Sandy Hook was due to the ‘gun free zone’ laws.  Their answer to reducing gun violence is more guns.

“I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school” (NRA Press Conference 12-21-12)

Bushmaster .223

Yes you heard that right, they are calling for armed guards in every school in America.  These comments sparked outrage from people across the country.  Most notably the President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, which represents the teachers and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  In a written statement Weingarten said:

“After remaining silent for an entire week following the Newtown massacre, the NRA’s first comments were to call for more guns in our schools and our society. This is both irresponsible and dangerous. No matter how much money the NRA spends or propaganda it tries to spread, one thing is clear—the NRA is not serious about confronting the epidemic of gun violence in our nation.”

“Schools must be safe sanctuaries, not armed fortresses. Anyone who would suggest otherwise doesn’t understand that our public schools must first and foremost be places where teachers can safely educate and nurture our students.”

I want to make it perfectly clear that there is not one shred of evidence that adding armed guards to our schools will do anything to stop random acts of violence. Remember that some of the most tragic events in the last few years occurred in places where armed guards were present.  Columbine had armed security guards. The University of Virginia has armed campus police.  Fort Hood is an active military base for pete’s sake.  None of these armed enforcers stopped those tragic events from happening.

Soldiers at Fort Hood

Schools do not need more guns to stop gun violence.  All of these situations were due to a mentally ill individual who in an act of insanity took the lives a innocent people.

New Hampshire State Representatives are using the tragedy in Sandy Hook an example for the need for more open gun laws.

State Rep J.R. Hoell told reporters:

“The killings are happening in the places where there’s gun-free zones … The teachers should be carrying, because had the teachers been carrying in Connecticut, it would have been a different story.” [Concord Monitor]

Right now in the state of NH you can legally carry (open or concealed) a loaded weapon into and any state building. This was thanks to the extreme agenda pushed by former Speaker Bill O’Brien.  It was so important to him and his radical followers it was the first piece of legislation passed by the NH House in the 2011 session.

This law sparked immediate controversy because this law also ment that students at Plymouth State University were allowed to bring loaded weapons onto the campus.  In a ridiculous act, a small group students wanted to showcase their new rights by openly carrying loaded semi-automatic weapons on the UNH campus. The group was met with hostility and a police entourage.  Once again proving that more guns does not create a safer environment.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy concerned Granite Staters are calling for an outright repeal of this law.  Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of Granite State Progress said in a written statement:

 “(Rep) Hoell voted for allowing guns on college campuses, exempting firearms and ammunition manufactured in New Hampshire from federal law and regulation, and eliminating licensing requirements for New Hampshire residents to own and carry guns. He is by no means a supporter of reasonable conversation on how to protect our country’s children and other residents from gun violence.”

Rep Hoell is not only advocating for more open gun regulations, he is encouraging members to show up to high charged political meetings at the State House openly carrying loaded weapons and walk in and “remove these people”.  What does he mean by this? Is Rep Hoell really advocating for gun violence in the State Capitol building?

Rep Hoell is not alone in his actions to “remove these people”.  Rep Lambert and Rep Baldasaro were also a part of the facebook event encouraging this extremist behavior.  I would also like to remind you that at least once in the 2011-2012 session State Reps brought loaded weapons into the State House and ended up dropping them on the floor. It has been reported that on any given day, there are at least 40 members of the NH House who are carrying loaded weapons into the Capitol building.  Not only are these actions potentially dangerous to the other Representatives in the Capitol building, every week hundreds of fourth graders tour the Capitol to see the State Legislature in action.

We need to have a real conversation about these tragedies.  We need to talk about the availability of these weapons for mentally ill people.  We also need to have the conversation about how we as a nation need to increase awareness for mental health problems.  Our legislators should be working on increasing funding to programs that help these people not advocating for more guns.   If you agree with me then stand up and take actions.  Sign the petition started by Granite State Progress to repeal this gun law in New Hampshire and show the rest of America that the Granite State truly cares about the safety of our residents.

 

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About Matt Murray

Matt Murray is the creator and an author on the NH Labor News. He is a union member and advocate for labor and progressive politics. He also works with other unions and members to help spread our message. Follow him on Twitter @NHLabor_News
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