|Issue of the Day Posts Tagged ‘Handguns’|
Gun Crime in Schools a Challange for Secretary of Education
Published Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
During the lead up to the primary in 2007, President Obama had challenged the government, the gun lobby and the public to do more to stop gun violence. In Chicago, where he gave the fiery speech, 32 Chicago school children had been killed in the previous year by firearms. As of today, 33 Chicago public school children have been cut down this year so far. The President had then called for better enforcement of existing gun laws, tighter background checks on gun buyers and a permanent assault-weapons (e.g., AK-47s) ban, which expired 5 years ago. Coincidentally, the new Secretary of Education was the former head of Chicago Public Schools, of which he stated that gun violence was his biggest challenge. These remarks by Secretary Arne Duncan come after the administration’s shift from methods like metal detectors to counseling and community building in order to combat school violence.
By 2007, there were over 10,000 people killed in the US by handguns, this is actually down from 10,225 in 2006. Violent crime committed with a firearm has reduced and remained relatively flat over the last decade. During the 2006-2007 school year, the number of those killed in school amounted to 32. By the 2007-2008 school year, the number reduced below 20 for the first time since 2002 to 16 deaths. Yet, students who reportedly carried a handgun on school campus reduced steadily from 11.8 to 6.1% from 1993 to 2003. Therefore, there were fewer guns on campuses but more deaths.
Last week, Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, and Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland, filed bills to let students licensed to carry concealed handguns take their weapons on campus. The bill would let concealed-handgun permit holders, who must be at least 21, carry loaded guns on campus. This is just one proposal of the many concealed-carry law expansions that the Texas Capitol has been considering this session. Another bill considers letting Texans buy rifles and shotguns in noncontiguous states, allowing counties to regulate noise, which could affect shooting ranges, and letting employees with concealed-handgun permits leave their guns in their locked cars at work.
All states have gun laws regarding on-campus. 26 states prohibit guns in schools; 23 let schools decide; and, in 2008, 17 states attempted to reform these laws. Every state also has laws prohibiting the purchase of firearms weapons by many who may be considered violent or have a history of criminal behavior. Many of the firearm application rejections come from previous felonies, misdemeanors, and restraining orders. Some applications are actually from fugitives. The main sources of firearms for criminals are friends and family plus illegal purchasing or activities such as robbery or burglary. The percentage of homeowners who have guns in their homes remained steady at 40-50% throughout 1959-1993, after which a decline occurred and remains at 36-42%. As for crimes in schools and colleges, according to the FBI, knives are used 3 times more than guns.