Paschall's School Safety Proposal Rejected

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The Colorado Freedom

Paschall's School Safety Proposal Rejected

by Ari Armstrong, April 31, 2000

State Representative Mark Paschall just doesn't get it. Doesn't he know it isn't politically correct these days to talk about the fact that guns save lives? Guns and gunowners are to be demonized, even though armed citizens stop more crimes every year than are committed with guns.

Republicans are supposed to cower in shame for supporting Second Amendment civil liberties. The Democrats have tasted blood and are moving in for the kill this November. When disarmament politicians wag their self-righteous fingers in the air and spout nonsense statistics about civil arms, Republicans are supposed to tuck their tails between their legs and run for cover behind the nearest do-nothing, feel-good gun control bill.

Republicans aren't supposed to actually stand up for their principles and show the courage of their convictions. They're not supposed to publicly articulate the case for civil arms. Somehow, Mark Paschall's spine has not turned to jelly in the mire of "me too" Republicanism.

Indeed, Mark Paschall is so foolhardy that he brazenly offered an amendment to a bill that would -- hold on to your chairs -- ACTUALLY REDUCE SCHOOL VIOLENCE. This is politics, Mark; since when is a bill supposed to actually solve the problem at hand?

Representative Paschall dared to offer an amendment that would allow a percentage of teachers at government schools to carry concealed handguns and train to use those guns safely and effectively. That proposal is the only bill offered in the 2000 legislative session with the demonstrated ability to stop the kind of violence that occurred at Columbine.

So of course the amendment was killed.

Republican Debbie Allen, who held the gavel when the amendment was offered, said she disallowed Paschall's proposal because it "did not fit" the title. Yet the title of the bill in question, SB-133, was "Concerning Safe Schools," which Paschall's proposal would have certainly supported. In an interview, Allen did say that, if Paschall's proposal were offered independently, "I would vote for it, but it would die." It would die even though the Republicans hold a majority in both the House and the Senate. Republican Dorothy Gotlieb, the house sponsor of SB-133, declined to say she'd vote for Paschall's proposal, though she said she had no hand in dismissing the amendment. Both Allen and Gotlieb are running for state senate this year.

Democrat Nolbert Chavez expressed passionate opposition to Paschall's amendment but could muster nothing more than an empty ad hominem attack. He told the Rocky Mountain News, "It was ridiculous. [Paschall's] off the deep end" (April 27). In a subsequent interview, Chavez simply couldn't make a rational argument against Paschall's proposal. This writer asked him at least four times to offer a substantive critique of the amendment, yet he would not or could not do so. "I don't think it's a good idea," he said. "I disagree with it," Chavez continued, restating his blank answer. "I think it's crazy -- that's it," he concluded.

That's it. See? If you'd just stop thinking about it and let your emotions run wild, you too could vote with most Democrats to deny citizens their civil rights to keep and bear arms.

But Nolbert's shriekings notwithstanding, what's really crazy is rejecting an amendment with the demonstrated ability to save lives. Paschall's proposal to arm some teachers has at least three solid arguments going for it.

  • After schools in Israel suffered devastating terrorist attacks, the schools started arming teachers and parents. School terrorism stopped immediately. It would seem that terrorists don't want to get shot before they have a chance to commit their acts of violence. This would probably apply as much to murderous students as it does to adult terrorists.

  • In 1997, Principal Joel Myrick used his Colt .45 handgun to stop a school shooting in Pearl, Mississippi. Fortunately, Myrick ignored federal laws that prohibited him from using his gun to defend his students. Unfortunately, Myrick kept his gun locked in his car rather than on his person and thus could only respond after several lives had already been threatened. All of the recent school shootings have taken place during the period when federal law has prohibited teachers and parents from using a gun to protect the children in their care. Yet incredibly, in the 2000 session Colorado Democrats proposed a bill to prevent even those with concealed carry permits from using their firearms to protect children in schools. Apparently, the Democrats want to make absolutely certain that only criminals have guns in schools, even though that's the kind of proposal that likely contributed to school deaths in recent years.

  • When examining the general crime rate, Yale Professor John Lott, Jr. (while working at the University of Chicago) found that liberal concealed carry laws resulted in fewer mass public shootings. That makes sense, because an armed citizen at the scene can stop the killer. The possibility of facing an armed citizen deters some would-be killers, thus preventing some conflicts completely. Lott concluded, "For those states from which data are available before and after the passage of [liberal concealed carry] laws, the mean per-capita death rate from mass shootings in those states plummets by 69 percent" after the laws are passed (More Guns, Less Crime, page 100).

Yes, Mark Paschall's amendment was the only proposal in the Colorado legislature with the demonstrated ability to stop the kind of violence that happened at Columbine. And it was the only proposal that didn't even get brought up for vote.

The Colorado Freedom