Don’t Waste Billions Putting Gun-Wielding Guards In Our Schools

School violence has diminished in recent years, but in response to a few mass shootings, the National Rifle Association and the Obama administration have advocated putting armed guards in every school, even though that would cost billions of dollars. The Cato Institute’s Gene Healy explains why this is a bad idea. As Healy notes, “if your goal is to prevent kids from getting murdered, the schools are about the last place you’d put new police, since 98 percent of youth homicides occur off school grounds.”

Even a high estimate of the rate of school shootings suggests that a typical “school in the United States can expect a school shooting” only “every 6,000 years.” Meanwhile, “to put ‘armed police officers in every school,’” as the NRA’s Wayne “LaPierre has frantically demanded that Congress do, would require hiring over 100,000 new cops,” notes Healy. Moreover, putting armed guards in schools increases the risk of accidental shootings, or armed guards “going postal.”  For example, “A New York town that began assigning an armed police officer to guard a high school in the wake of the Connecticut massacre has suspended the program after an officer accidentally discharged his pistol in a hallway while classes were in session.”

Additional critiques of this big-government scheme at taxpayer expense can be found at Reason magazine and Free Range Kids (“Our Schools Are Safe Enough: A Movement to Stop Overreacting to Sandy Hook” [click here])