Colorado Seeks to Shed Lessons of Columbine – Bearing Arms

Colorado Seeks to Shed Lessons of Columbine – Bearing Arms

For those of us of a certain age, we remember the news coverage from Columbine. It was an unmitigated case of awful and one that we never realized would later be marked as the beginning of something terrible.

Mass shootings happened before, but they were pretty rare. The University of Texas, for example, didn’t spark a massive numbers of sniper attacks.

Columbine was different.

In Colorado, though, where lawmakers claim to want to respond to mass shootings through “common sense” legislation, they’re looking at a measure now that will make schools less safe.

For the past 20 years, Colorado’s K-12 schools have had an affordable option to protect their children. School boards have been able to authorize selected employees as an armed security team. These security team members have had background checks, been vetted, been trained, have passed qualification tests on par with those tests given to law enforcement, and have been on campuses throughout the state with zero problems since their inception.

Under this 20-year-old law, its local control provision has allowed for rural school districts and interested charter schools to authorize armed staff, and for districts like Boulder and Denver to not authorize armed staff. These are decisions that should continue to be made by local school boards, the government body closest to districts, families and students. They know better what they need in their own town than politicians hundreds of miles away.

On Friday, House Bill 24-1310 was introduced. The key feature of this bill is the complete elimination of the current armed school staff protocols that have been operating safely in Colorado for 20 years, and the elimination of the ability to carry on campuses of higher education.

The K-12 schools in Colorado that have armed security teams represent schools in 41 of Colorado’s school districts. They have had armed security teams under the existing 20-year-old law with no negative issues. The armed school employees who have been through FASTER Colorado training number around 400, and we know of many more who get their training elsewhere. So, what is this law attempting to improve?

In addition to operating with no negative issues, there have been a handful of reports from FASTER-trained schools through the years that led to the conclusion having armed staff has been a deterrent to violence on campus. In fact, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center, schools that allow armed staff haven’t seen any school shootings during school hours, further reinforcing the deterrent effect.

As for the contrast to that, look again at Columbine. 

This was before FASTER-trained staff even existed in the state. No one was carrying a firearm on a school campus and how did that work out? There was no one in that school who could meet the two violent dipsticks on equal footing. Instead, people hid and waited to die.

That is something you never want to think about when it’s someone you care about. Believe me.

In Parkland and Uvalde, we’ve seen what can happen when those charged with acting decide to stay outside. Yes, in Parkland, it was a school resource officer, but he was also just one person.

Armed staff aren’t alone and they have an additional level of motivation–they protect students by protecting themselves.

Colorado isn’t about “common sense.” They’re about embracing the worst issues of the anti-gun movement, namely that they can’t imagine the concept of a good guy with a gun.

They’re hoping the police will show up in time, ignoring Uvalde and ignoring the history of the state itself, all because they’re in the camp that sees guns as icky. No one should die because of this, yet don’t be surprised if and when it happens.

Colorado, you deserve better, but until you start voting like it, this is what you’ll get.

Originally Posted on: https://bearingarms.com/tomknighton/2024/02/24/colorado-seeks-to-shed-lessons-of-columbine-n1223953
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