As the gun debate continues to rage, some states, including Florida, have made some pacification to those calling for more gun control, but they have also taken some (almost) common sense approaches to the problem.
Raising the legal age to acquire a rifle from 18 to 21 years of age is a ridiculous “purchase (of) a little temporary safety.” First, the overwhelming majority of firearm murders are committed with handguns. Second, the probability of being killed in an auto accident is twice as likely as being killed by a firearm (all included), yet we allow (in Florida and many other states) kids to drive at 16 years of age. Third, we allow those 17 years of age to have access to real machine guns within the military. Finally, most firearms used in crimes were acquired illegally. Thus, this mollifying law will do more harm by eroding our liberties than the lives it saves.
There is some hope, however, as the title suggests. Florida passed a law to allow some school employees to be trained, deputized, and armed. But, classroom teachers may not choose to be part of this guardian/marshal program – that is, the ones who have the most opportunity to save innocent children from a deranged, mass murder are excluded from doing so. Again, the illogical rhetoric surrounding firearms never ceases to amaze me. All public school teachers in the State of Florida have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and therefore show some level of intelligence and responsibility. The minimum requirement for becoming a law enforcement officer (in Florida) is 19 years of age and must possess a high school diploma or GED. Based on the above logic, Florida’s law makers don’t believe a 19-year-old is intelligent and responsible enough to own a rifle, but he is to drive a car, carry a gun, and have the power of arrest (i.e., make the decision to revoke the rights of a citizen), while teachers who have passed professional standards exams and earned a degree are not intelligent and responsible. Continuing this comparison, a custodian with no education will have the opportunity to carry a firearm, because they are obviously more intelligent and responsible than a teacher. To make matters worse, the non-classroom teachers (e.g., librarians, counselors, on special assignment, etc.) are allowed to do so – that is, the ones who probably won’t be near any children when the crazy arrives will have a weapon to defend with, but no children to defend.
I’m not a lawyer, but I know the law is based in logic, although it doesn’t always seem that way, and judges are lawyers who have been trained in logic; so I believe the law’s explicit exemption of classroom teachers will be thrown out. If that happens, then the marshal part of the new Florida law might actually same somebody’s life. If it is, and teachers are allowed to carry weapons, I believe the manners of our children will improve…
*The unabridged quote from the title: “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” – Robert Heinlein