Archive for Thursday, March 29, 2018

Editorial: No guns in our schools

March 29, 2018

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Kansas lawmakers should move on from their efforts to clear the way for teachers to carry concealed weapons in the state’s schools.

Insurance companies have made clear that they believe arming teachers increases the risk of an incident. And judging from recent protest marches and testimony offered at a hearing Tuesday, Kansans aren’t big fans of the idea either.

Yet, Kansas legislators continue to look for a way to get public school staff to carry guns.

A 2013 law already gives Kansas teachers the option to carry concealed firearms in school, if the school district approves it. But none of the state’s 286 school districts has adopted a policy allowing concealed weapons, in part because of insurance liability concerns.

Shortly after the law passed in 2013, EMC Insurance Companies, one of the largest providers of insurance to school districts in the state, released a statement that it would not insure schools that allow employees to carry concealed handguns because of what the company determined to be a heightened liability risk.

On Tuesday morning, the House Insurance Committee heard testimony on House Bill 2789. The bill would prohibit insurance companies from refusing to provide coverage to districts that choose to allow employees to carry concealed handguns.

Rep. Blake Carpenter, one of the authors of the bill, said it’s intended to help small, rural districts that can’t afford to hire school resource officers.

“The individuals who come from large metropolitan areas can afford to have an SRO, versus some of the other members in the committee that come from rural communities, and they cannot afford to have an SRO on staff, and law enforcement help could be anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes away,” he told the Insurance Committee. “And that could be a serious and grave danger to the population inside the school.”

But most of the testimony on Tuesday was in opposition to the bill. In fact, there were so many people in opposition to the bill that many of them, including students from Lawrence High School, did not get to speak.

Later in the day, State Rep. Brett Parker offered an amendment that would have repealed the 2013 law allowing for concealed carry in schools. The amendment failed in a 79-44 vote that fell heavily along party lines.

There are valid concerns about safety in Kansas schools and there are reasonable steps legislators could take to better protect students from future gun violence. Arming teachers isn’t among them.

Legislators should heed the risk warnings issued by EMC Insurance and abandon House Bill 2789.

Comments

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Because having schools be gun-free zones has worked so well this far...

Ken Lassman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Insurance companies are hard numbers crunchers who depend on a clear-eyed view of risk: their profit margin depends on it. EMIC Company out of Lenexa does not seem like someone who doesn't do their homework. They've looked at the current statistics and have concluded that armed teachers do not pay off: their accident rates exceed any reduction that comes about from training and arming them in the use of firearms. I'm OK with ambiguity: have it known that there MAY be voluntarily armed teachers who are well trained veterans, ex-police officers, etc. who could be in their midst, IF that policy doesn't blow insurance coverage, but any kind of mandatory program sounds like accidents waiting to happen.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The legislature has no business telling an insurance company they must insure a school. What happened to the free market and small government?

Richard Heckler 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Legislatures have no business telling consumers they cannot have the opportunity to purchase Medicare Single Payer Insurance.

Let's talk about the free market ........

Brock Masters - do you think taxpayers should be forced to insure schools though the industry finds that arming teachers too risky?

How is it that politicians can force teachers to carry guns and fine school districts if all teachers do not wish to participate?

Never vote republican again = unfortunately the only way to clean up the Kansas legislature.

Brock Masters 1 month, 2 weeks ago

No one is forcing teachers to carry guns or fine districts. You’re misinformed.

Jim Phillips 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Let's try an experiment. We'll get two groups of kids together. Both groups will be victims of an active shooter armed with an soft air gun. A hit is a hit and if someone is hit, they are out of commission. Group A will be protected by two adults carrying GUN FREE SCHOOL ZONE signs. Group B will be protected by two adults carrying air soft guns. Let's see who has more "casualties". Any takers?

Ken Lassman 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Throw in a bucket of nerf rocks in each classroom too: if the active shooter is hit with a "rock," he can't shoot for 15 seconds for every rock that hits. And while we're at it, put those door sleeve locks on the doors. And an entryway monitor who calls the police at the sign of any suspicious person.

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I prefer Group C, where the shooting itself is prevented instead of accepting school shootings as a way of life.

Jim Phillips 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Great, Daniel! I agree that is the preferred method. What's your plan to accomplish that?

Richard Heckler 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Five ways you can stand up to the NRA right now

by Heidi Hess

Within hours of the horrific massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — which took the lives of 17 people — Republican politicians were issuing their well-rehearsed “thoughts and prayers” social media posts and rejecting any calls for serious gun control reforms that would prevent these killings in the future.

But the very next day, the brave Parkland survivors took action. And in the weeks since the shooting, they have taken to the halls of the Florida legislature, Congress and the White House to call out the true enabler of these repeated mass killings: the National Rifle Association.

In response, the NRA has dug in its heels, rejecting any form of common sense gun reform and even empowering dangerous conspiracy theories to discredit the survivors.

But the momentum for real gun control is on our side. Since Parkland, corporate partners have been abandoning the NRA in droves. And people all over the country have been publicizing and criticizing the amount of money their representatives have taken from the NRA.

CREDO stands with the Parkland students and everyone else who is ready to fight for real gun control and call out the NRA for its complicity in gun deaths and gun violence.

Here are five ways you can take action right now to stop the NRA:

Tell Republicans in Congress: Thoughts and prayers are not enough. It is time for Republicans in Congress to join Democrats in standing up to the NRA and pass an assault weapons ban that will save American lives.

Tell the NRA’s corporate partners: Stop enabling the NRA’s extremism. Activism to pressure companies to sever ties with the NRA is working, with companies like Delta, United Airlines, Hertz, and others dropping discount programs for NRA members.

But other companies, including FedEx, aren’t giving up their partnerships, so we must keep up the pressure. (I say boycott FedEx at every opportunity)

Tell Congress: Stop taking the NRA’s money. In the last 20 years, the NRA has donated more than $4.1 million to current members of Congress, which has kept most legislation about gun control from ever getting a vote. It’s time for members of Congress to break free from the NRA and reject money from the gun lobby.

Stand with Sen. Warren: Tell investors in gun manufacturers to demand change. Big Wall Street investors in the major gun manufacturers have been profiting off of gun violence in America for far too long. We’re joining Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s push to demand that these investors use their power to force gun manufacturers to make us safer, not more at risk.

Attend a gun control march or walkout. Parkland survivors and their allies are planning protests and rallies in Washington, DC and across the country.

Stand up to the NRA and show your support for gun control and survivors at an event near you.

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Wow, you made an entire post without dragging ALEC in! BTW, the NRA isn't even in the top 50 organizations donating money to politicians. How's about a link to that big hunk of dreck you posted?

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