To the Editor: Views change on response to shootings

The following letter to the editor of the Columbus Dispatch was submitted by Ken Hanson, Buckeye Firearms Association's Legislative Chair and published on December 12, 2013.

On Dec. 14, 2012, a deranged coward entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and committed 26 murders. Saturday's anniversary gives our nation a moment to reflect upon what happened that day.

As someone who has worked to advance firearm rights since 1991, I can say that the past year illustrates a profound change in what society views as an appropriate response to these types of shootings. Previously, the expectation was that governments would rush to pass "more of the same" gun-control laws: bans, licensing, changing background-check laws and generally making life miserable for everyone but criminals. Schools would use more cameras, more door buzzers and more anti-bullying programs.

Surprisingly, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings, society largely has rejected these usual responses. In Colorado, the state Senate president was recalled by voters after spearheading gun-control legislation. A few states have passed some gun-control laws in the past year, but these mostly were states that already had strict gun-control laws. In most states and in Congress, gun-control measures went nowhere.

One thing that hasn't changed, unfortunately, is the anatomy of a school shooting. The shooter enters without regard for door buzzers, "no gun" stickers on doors and security cameras. Police are notified promptly and respond promptly. The problem is, the typical shooter can commit a massacre in that interval.

Here in Ohio, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, did not wait for government action. Over the past year, more than $130,000 was raised and invested in giving 168 teachers advanced firearm training. Many of these teachers are going about their school day armed. Similarly, state agencies have been training armed teachers. Not all teachers should be armed, and certainly no one should force a teacher to be armed. But nothing could be a clearer indication of the shift in attitudes over the past 15 years than boards of education making the decision to allow trained staff to be armed.

With more people carrying a handgun, and with the "more of the same" approach being exposed as ineffective, Americans have spent the past 12 months accepting that protection will not come from laws written on a piece of paper, nor from dialing 911.


Legislative liaison

Buckeye Firearms Association


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