Gun-free school zones should be federal, not state, law

The new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently irresponsibly claimed that the issue of school personnel having guns is “best left to locales and states to decide.” I disagree with her opinion, however. It should be the federal law that school should be a gun-free zone since among all the weapons, guns are the most dangerous, and students should not feel afraid or threatened when going to school.

What DeVos said does not affect students in Wellesley, though, because the state law in Massachusetts states that anyone other than law enforcement officers is prohibited from “carry[ing] dangerous weapons … on the grounds of a school or university”

Betsy DeVos stated in her confirmation hearing that she favored local rather than federal decision-making because, in Wapiti, Wyoming, “I would imagine that there’s probably a gun in the school to protect [students] from potential grizzlies.” Yet her statement about the school in Wapiti is false, according to CNN.

On January 18, Ray Schulte, superintendent for Park County School District No. 6, called CNN to say that “they have no guns for grizzly bear at Wapiti School” and that “it’s against state law to have guns at school.” Wapiti Elementary School contains only 10 students, and while those 10 students are important, I personally think that if the school has guns, those guns will be more dangerous than those grizzly bears. Ironically, being the new education secretary, DeVos has shown her ignorance by falsely citing her facts in public.

Although the year 2017 has just begun, there have already been 48 mass shootings, according to the website Mass Shooting Tracker, which counts the number of mass shooting using the FBI’s definition: “four or more shot and/or killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location, not including the shooter.” The number 48 is shockingly high, and it even includes some mass shooting events in elementary school in which students shot others because of arguments.

School should be gun-free zones where students can learn freely without worrying about their own safety. Although the prohibition of guns in school does not affect students in Massachusetts, many students in other states are affected significantly as they do not have state laws to protect them. In order to make school a safer place for everyone, it should be federal instead of state law that schools should be gun-free zones.

Photo: Betsy DeVos, the new Secretary of Education. Photo credit: CNN.

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