Gun education | Opinion

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and the South Kitsap School District soft-pedaled an otherwise tough situation recently and put the onus of recent gun incidents in local schools on the parents at home. While it is a very solid talking point, every self-respecting gun owner knows that gun control begins at home. Perhaps it’s time for something more proactive from those who will face the consequence of another shooting, should one occur.

We believe the conversation might better focus on teaching gun safety as a public health issue in the same manner as sex and drug education. The truthful and present daily reality is that little lives and their eventual outcomes depend on knowledge of all three subjects. Guns and sex are indeed present and pretending that either aren’t is probably not healthy for a community of any size or self-image. Gun safety can and should be taught along with prevention of the social ills.

Rural schools often support gun safety classes because of present nature of hunting culture and legitimate gun use in their societies. We have the same proper concerns as those rural communities, plus ready access to criminally based gun gun culture. Between penalty, fear and common sense is a lesson that can get through to some children that if they see a gun at all, ever, in a person’s hand or poking out of a pocket, leave the area immediately.

A 2002 Safe School Initiative study conducted by the United State Secret Service looked at 37 school shootings involving 41 student attackers from 1974 through 2000, including Paduca and Columbine. The study concludes that the more likely gun-in-school safety threat will likely be well telegraphed by student behavior long before any shooting starts. One of the best chances of stopping school shootings comes with getting students to report behavior to a staff trained to recognize behavior flags. Much of gun concerns in schools should be more about fear of bullying and social abuse than probability of attack according to the Secret Service.

Perhaps the reasons the gun was brought into SKSD recently should be more important to those who would pass responsibility back to the parents.


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