In his State of the State address on January 9, Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy profoundly stated, “And when it comes to preventing future acts of violence in our schools, let me say this: more guns are not the answer.”
This was met with raucous (as raucous as state government officials get) cheers and a standing ovation. As the left and the right argue over the limitations of the Second Amendment, one thing can be agreed upon by both sides, no one wants to see another Newtown or Columbine.
One week after the tragedy in Newtown, Executive Vice President and CEO of the NRA Wayne LaPierre made an extremely controversial speech concerning the events that transpired. In the speech, LaPierre said, “I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school – and to do it now….”
While no one would say that school security is an issue, putting an armed guard in every school would be a costly and unnecessary measure that would not produce a marked effect on school safety. In the Columbine shooting, there was an armed guard at the school. At the Virginia Tech school shooting, there was a whole security team on campus; however, in neither of those situations were they able to respond quickly enough.
While security is paramount and the cost of the life of a child cannot be put into absolute terms, one must seriously look at the incredible cost of putting armed guards in every school. Connecticut has 1,179 schools, and according to most estimates, the cost of an armed guard annually is roughly $100,000. This measure would cost roughly $118 million in additional costs to the state’s budget. Connecticut is a state that cannot afford to add more than $100 million in costs to a budget they have worked so hard to balance.
As towns and cities from Ellwood to Butler County hire armed guards to protect their schools and the Mississippi Lieutenant Governor proposes a plan to hire armed guards for its schools, they are looking past the main issue. While the mere presence of an armed guard may deter someone from going on a spur-of-the-moment killing rampage in a school, the three most highly publicized incidents were thought out and planned far in advance. Would these armed guards not be allowed to eat lunch? Go to the bathroom? On a campus of a school, a single armed guard would not be able to protect every inch and these horrible incidents thankfully happen very infrequently.
In his speech, Governor Malloy said, “security should not mean a guard outside every classroom.” We as a country should heed Governor Malloy’s words and provide any federal funding for putting armed guards in schools. While certain districts are going to put an armed guard in the school anyway, it is not the federal government’s role to mandate the need for armed guards.