In my most recent “Gun Law Podcast”, I interview three young ladies, ages 10-14, who enjoy shooting guns for sport and hunting. They are normal girls who get good grades, participate in other, more traditional “girl” activities such as cooking, swim team, and playing musical instruments. All three girls have at least one thing in common beyond their enjoyment of firearms: confidence. They are not shy, insecure, or suffering from common “girl” afflictions imposed on them by our modern society. I have no doubt that when these women are old enough to carry concealed, they would not hesitate to protect themselves against an attacker.
And yet, in the State of Idaho and other states around the country, if any of these young women displayed “thoughts” about guns at their unprotected, public schools they risk punishment, including suspension. If they choose to attend college (and all three of them have told me they will), they risk expulsion for carrying a firearm to defend themselves on campus. While their parents have taught and continue to teach them to be strong, responsible women, our laws and government school systems are adversely working to teach them to fear and rely on others.
When I first read about schools expelling kids for such frivolous acts as using fingers as “guns” while playing “cops and robbers”, wearing pro-Second Amendment T-shirts, or using partially eaten pastries as toy weapons, I couldn’t believe those stories were true. Make no mistake, our government is indoctrinating our children through “zero tolerance weapons policies” to believe that weapons are bad. Unless, of course, the weapon is in the hand of a government official.
Instead of teaching our children that any thought about guns is wrong, we need to empower them with knowledge and teach them responsibility and ethics.
At least one state this session is taking action to protect children from being punished for thinking about guns. Oklahoma House Bill 2351, titled the “Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act”, prohibits federally funded schools from “punishing, humiliating, intimidating, being condescending to, bullying or suspending students who think about guns. The drafters of this bill should also be applauded for their fantastic title, which plays on the Obama Administration’s anti-gun lobbying efforts while its text resists those same tyrannical government efforts.
A similar bill was proposed by Rep. Stockman in July 2013 in the 113th Congress, House of Representatives. That Act is titled the “Student Protection Act”. The bill states as a congressional finding that “so-called ‘zero-tolerance’ weapons policies in federally funded schools are being used to teach children to be afraid of inanimate objects that are shaped like guns” and cites examples of such punishment being inflicted upon children around the country.
Like the Oklahoma bill, it would prevent federally funded educational institutions from punishing students as a result of brandishing a pastry shaped as a gun, possessing small toy guns, using fingers or hands to simulate a gun, wearing a T-shirt that supports Second Amendment rights, drawing pictures of guns or possessing images of a gun, or using a writing utensil to simulate a firearm. Sound common sense enough? Unfortunately, the bill has no co-sponsors, and according to govtrack.us, it has a mere 3% chance of getting past committee and a 1% chance of being enacted. Do you think children should be taught to fear guns unless they are in the hands of a government official? If not, have you called your congressmen and women and asked them to support this bill?
There is discussion about proposing a Student Protection Act in Idaho as well, our children are not immune to the governmental indoctrination: punishment has been doled out in our schools to students who have engaged in the conduct described above, including suspension. Note that not all incidents are publicized.
While, as described above, some officials are doing what they can to protect our children from the government, others are focusing efforts on protecting them from criminals. While arming school teachers sounds to many conservatives like an act of common sense, in Northern Idaho, Chairman Youngdahl of the Lake Pend Orielle School District is facing a recall for proposing a plan to arm school staff and teachers. Contrast this action with legislation in other states to arm teachers (ie South Dakota and Arizona).
Finally, the media has now released information about the Idaho “campus carry” bill. The current prohibition against carrying on campus affects more than the students. It affects everyone who treads upon the college or university property. The facts and figures do not lie: mass shootings occur in gun-free zones. Prohibiting firearms on campuses makes people on campus vulnerable to attack. At the time of writing this article, the text of the bill has not been released to the public, so the pros and cons of the pending bill cannot be analyzed.
We cannot continue to have a “take what we can get” attitude. While the legislative process can be tedious, corrupt, and controlled by organizations other than “we the people”, “we the people” still cast the votes. We cannot remain satisfied with mediocre, compromised legislation or the politicians who support it. We cannot continue to sit back and watch what is happening on the news without taking action. Some of our politicians have what it takes to stand up for what’s right, and others do not. You are responsible for educating yourself and finding out who will be your voice. Will you elect a constitutional conservative or a sell-out? You will make a difference if you educate yourself, educate others, and vote. Join zero tolerance, pro-Second Amendment organizations such as Gun Owners of America on the national level or the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance at the state level and educate yourself. Don’t be afraid to speak up. We are far from alone in this effort.