David Hoppe

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:: Bringing guns to school

Makes us safer, right?

by David Hoppe

As expected, Gov. Mike Pence has made it legal for adults to keep guns in their cars in school parkinglots. “Gov. Pence believes in the right to keep and bear arms,” declared spokeswoman Kara Brooks in an email. “This is a common sense reform that accomplishes the goal of keeping parents and law-abiding citizens from being charged with a felony when they pick their kids up at school or go to cheer the local basketball team.”

No one doubted Pence would sign this law. Throughout his political career he has consistently won gold stars from the National Rifle Association, one of his biggest institutional fans. And this law was positioned right smack in the NRA’s wheelhouse.

The NRA believes that the trouble with guns is that there aren’t enough of them. As NRA boss Wayne LaPierre said after the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Ergo, the more guns there are, including at places like schools, the safer everybody will be.

As far as the NRA is concerned, bringing a gun to school may actually be a kind of public service — it’s just a shame adults aren’t allowed to pack in the classroom. Yet.

This is what passes for reality in Indiana and any number of other states, like Washington, where lawmakers have introduced a bill that would exempt all firearms and ammo from state sales tax, or South Carolina, where the governor supports a law that would allow people to carry concealed firearms without permits or safety training.

The NRA’s version of reality rhymes neatly with movies aimed at adolescent males. You know the ones: the good guys with guns always win.

But there’s a problem with this version of reality. It’s not based on facts.

If a proliferation of guns really made us safer, Indiana should be like Mayberry on the old Andy Griffith show. In 2013, the Indiana State Police issued 111,000 personal gun permits, up a whopping 83 percent over the previous year.

If the NRA is right, this should make for a peaceable Hoosier kingdom. But look what’s happening in Indianapolis. As of March 23, there have been 34 homicides; 30 of them involving guns. At this rate, the city could top 2013, when the death toll hit 142.

A study done last year by Boston University confirmed the obvious, finding that between 1981 and 2010, states with more guns had higher homicide rates.

Since nobody’s trying to take peoples’ guns away — the Supreme Court settled that in the NRA’s favor, thank you very much — you would think Gov. Pence and his friends in the gun lobby would at least try to tell gun owners to cool it when it comes to packing heat around public places, like schools. No such luck.

Makes us feel safer, right?