In a Twitter conversation recently, I whole-heartedly stated, “If it meant that children’s lives were saved, I would gladly give up my Concealed Pistol License, or CPL. I would at the drop of a hat turn in my guns and ammunition, and never carry another firearm if I knew it would save lives of children who are being targeted by predators and sick-minded people.
In Detroit, students most often are targeted on the way to and from school. Carrying a gun does not necessarily make me feel safer. It does, however, give me the opportunity to protect my children and myself when we enter our home or are out at night. My home has been broken into several times, and, on more than one occasion, I have been confronted by strangers while out shopping. I hope to never actually use my gun on someone, but having it is my backup.
The problem here is not gun safety; it is access to guns
If the government made a decision to re-evaluate every person with a CPL or who purchases a gun to keep schools safe, I would be okay with that law. The problem is, would they? Does our government see a need to protect our youth? Do they see the need to change regulations on gun sales and require everyone to take multiple classes before purchasing?
These are the questions that will be answered very soon as the United States comes to the harsh reality that we have failed at protecting our schools.
I was proud to meet the Pete Brownell president of the NRA recently when he gave a speech about gun safety. I can honestly say I never knew that the NRA was involved in supporting programs like Eddie Eagle. The problem here is not gun safety; it is access to guns. My teenage daughter has been taught gun safety. You can best believe if I have a gun in my home I want her to know the dangers, risks, and laws around owning one.
Does that mean I want her to be able to just purchase a gun at the drop of a hat? NO! No one should just be able to order guns, whether an AR-15 or a small handgun, without going through clear, and now, even stricter background checks.
I support the Second Amendment, but when do we decide to make an amendment to the amendment and put children’s lives first? This is not a Republican vs Democrat issue, this is a life or death issue. If a person has had a mental illness they should not be allowed to own a gun unless they have been cleared by a legitimate psychologist. Changing the age required to purchase a gun won’t change the issues. Young people have older friends who may be willing to purchase the guns for them.
As a gun owner and parent advocate I could go on all day about this, but the reality is we need to make change and make it now. So until Congress decides they really want to stop allowing terror in our schools, what can we do?
I say we as parents work with the schools to:
- Be honest about our children’s behavior and mental status.
- Reach out for real help when we see signs of depression and anger.
- Volunteer more in the schools and around schools to patrol the area ( not just with the well-being of our children in mind, but for all children).
- Each parent/community member donate window ladders to your child’s classrooms for emergencies.
- Schools accept the ladders and don’t make it difficult to implement suggested safety measures.
- Aggressively address bullying issues and threats made.
- Make Restorative Practice a part of daily practice. (Yeah, I know you are not psychologists, but we have to change this culture.)
- Create safe spaces for youth to share their frustrations.
- Train parents to be certified crisis counselors in the schools and communities.
- Do whatever it may take but make our schools safe.
- Realize that those with the power to change gun laws will take more time than we are willing to give so lets enact a plan.
If not now, when? If we as parents and educators don’t do these things, we will regret it later. We don’t have time to wait for people to decide whether accepting donations from the NRA is more important than body counts!