We tried. Rep. Scott Parsley (D-8/Madison) made one last try yesterday to get the Legislature to hold its fire on House Bill 1087, the school gunslinger bill, and take time to gather evidence that arming teachers, janitors, and other volunteers in our schools is necessary and effective. But when Republicans want to stroke their policy phalli, evidence and study are inconveniences. The House voted 40 to 19 (eleven legislators were out working on appropriations) to accept the Senate's amendments and send HB 1087 to the Governor, who I speculate is 95% likely to sign the bill into law and thus drive local school districts around the state into time-wasting debates about whether we should put kindergartners and firearms in the same room.
No one has been shot in our South Dakota gun-free school zones in the three months that we've been debating letting gunslingers act out their John Wayne fantasies in our schools. Meanwhile, over the past few days, two guys in Rapid City managed to shoot themselves while fiddling with their pistols. A third man drew a police visit after he thought it wise to point his new gun at things he didn't plan to shoot in the Kohl's parking lot.
Further afield, a Florida man hopped up on adrenaline opened fire on a fleeing shoplifter and sent stray bullets into at least two other cars. And in Texas, a school district that has adopted a policy like HB 1087 has seen its first shooting: a janitor took a bullet in the leg during the school's gunslinger training session.
But really, what could go wrong with putting guns in your children's classroom?
House Bill 1087 is a manifestation of the same baseless fear that has South Dakotans applying for concealed weapons permits at three times the rate they did last year. One eager reader's comment, that my opposition to HB 1087 is about wanting to "neuter everyone" gets me thinking that legislators and regular citizens alike are not engaged in serious threat assessment. They're wallowing in Viagra and Cialis and Mancore ads that tell them they are losing their manhood. They need pills and pistols to keep their testosterone up.
Meanwhile, a 16-year-old student wrestled a gun away from a football player who threatened to shoot a teammate with a .22-caliber revolver on a school bus... proving that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with his bare hands and guts.