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The Texas School Solution: More Guns, Less Money

Post-Sandy Hook bill would put teachers in firing line

By Richard Whittaker, 4:01PM, Wed. Dec. 26, 2012

Jason Villalba: Wants more guns in schools, but not interested in paying for them
Jason Villalba: Wants more guns in schools, but not interested in paying for them
Image courtesy of Villalba campaign

Last session, Texas cut $5.4 billion out of public school funding. And now the gun lobby not only wants more guns on campus, but they want teachers to pay for them. Now that's some conservative values right there!

Texas already allows ISDs to let teachers carry guns in school: However, it seems that only one district in the whole state, the miniscule Harrold ISD outside of Wichita Falls, has taken advantage of that (de)regulation. The rest of Texas' more than 1,000 school districts have rejected this plan. However, gun control advocates and teachers are waiting for Representative-elect Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, to file his Protection of Texas Children Act. His bill would allow schools "to appoint a member of the school faculty to serve as a certified 'school marshal' having the right to carry a concealed firearm and to use lethal force upon the occurrence of an armed attack in the classroom or elsewhere on campus."

Under his bill, such marshals would be anonymous and known only to the "principal, law enforcement personnel, and certain executive administrators of the ISD." School districts would get to set their own rules of engagement.

Coda: In a sign of the overwhelming miserliness of the state, such school marshals will have to pay for their own guns and training. Well, why not? It's become the ridiculous norm that teachers have to pay for their classroom supplies: Go to any Target or Walmart at the beginning of the semester, and see how many educators are stocking up on pens, pads and pencils for your kids. So now they'd just have to take a quick trip past Ernie's Firepower Emporium as well.

One might expect politicians to go easy on school districts after Sandy Hook (especially if they want teachers to become unpaid security guards) but instead Attorney General Greg Abbott has been trying to prove they are asleep at the chalk board. Abbott, who has become a constant Twitter buddy with anti-government radicals like Americans for Prosperity's Peggy Venables, released a list of 78 school districts that had not submitted their triannual safety review, as mandated by the Texas Education Code. Out of the 1,025 ISDs required to submit such audits, 38 did not do so and another 40 had submitted incomplete reports. Well, hold on. Two days later, Abbott released another press release, saying that 58 of that 78 were actually now in compliance.

Things may not be going the gun lobby's way, as its more radical proponents start to look like the fringe radicals and Rambo fantasists they are. First National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre went on a bizarre tirade against video games, and argued that there should be a national database of people with mental illness. Cue eye rolling. Yes, the same NRA that throws a fit every time anyone even mentions a gun owner database wants everyone with any form of mental illness registered. How exactly do they want this done, without risking massive due process and privacy violations that would make Roe Vs Wade look like a parking ticket?

GOP pollster Frank Luntz told CBS this weekend, "I don't think the NRA is listening. I don't think they understand." Luntz said that his numbers show that even NRA supporters back increased restrictions on concealed firearms. "The public wants guns out of the schools, not in the schools, and they're not asking for a security official."

It doesn't stop with LaPierre and the NRA. In an email leaked to Gawker, Oregon Republican State Rep. Dennis Richardson told several school superintendents that, if he was an armed teacher at Sandy Hook, "most of the murdered children would still be alive, and the gunman would still be dead, and not by suicide."

Meanwhile, gun advocates have launched a White House petition to get CNN hack Piers Morgan deported, just because he advocates for gun control. There are many good reasons to not want to stand near Morgan, but that's not one of them. However, it does show the relative priorities that the gun lobby places on the First and Second amendments.

Oh, and prepare to get embarrassed. The author of this petition, "Kurt N." is from Austin, Texas.

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