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School Board member floats idea of guns in elementary schools

Prove to me why keeping a gun in each Loudoun County elementary school wouldn’t be a cheap and effective school shooting deterrent, asked School Board member Bill Fox (Leesburg), in the comment section of a TooConservative.com blog post titled “Since Nothing Else Works, Arm the Principals.”

The post and Fox’s comments come after a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Sandy Hook, Conn. left 26 children and adults dead.

Fox estimates it would cost $100,000 to buy a gun safe with a fingerprint lock, a tactical firearm (he suggests a semi-automatic shotgun as an example) and provide initial training for three school staff members.

He says the cost would be $50,000 a year annually to keep training employees to use the firearms.

“For the sake of argument ... I would like to hear what people perceive to be the realistic worst and best case scenarios of such an action, as well as a cost/benefit analysis based on the numbers above and likely outcomes,” Fox says in his comment, dated 11:22 p.m. Dec. 19. “Now, I understand that many think the mere suggestion is insane, and I get that ... I would invite those who believe this is the worst idea in the history of public schools to construct likely scenarios which indicate the wrongheadedness of this approach. Likewise, a mere vote of support is not particularly helpful either.”

Fox said Thursday afternoon that he has no plans to propose what he outlined on TooConservative.com be used in Loudoun County schools and he was instead hoping for an open dialogue on the issue. He reiterated that he not arguing for what he posted, but looking for dialogue on the issue.

“When it comes to protecting our children, no solution should be off the table,” Fox said. “All I’m suggesting is at this point we have a discussion with both the community and experts in security policy.”

He said he occasionally reads the site and he hoped his comment would generate meaningful responses. He said discussion of the topic in the larger public sphere was usually met with a knee-jerk reaction.

“You’re called crazy without any offering of what this would really look like,” Fox said.

He hoped that wouldn’t happen on the site because the story he commented on suggested arming principals.

The poster of the story, “Lloyd the Idiot,” said that allowing, not requiring school administrators to have weapons on school campuses was what was needed to deter potential school shooters.

“I propose that the General Assembly clear the way for school boards to allow administrators to have guns on campus,” Lloyd said. “At minimum, it should commission a study on the topic.”

Currently, Virginia law prohibits anyone who isn’t a law enforcement officer from carrying a loaded gun on public school property.

Citizens with concealed carry permits may possess a weapon on school property as long as they don’t exit their vehicle, according to Virginia state law.

Several of those who responded were decidedly against the idea. One poster, Ed Meyers, suggested that schools instead use stun or taser guns.

“That way when the kids accidentally get ahold of the principal’s gun they can’t kill themselves or others,” he said.

Fox considered a stun gun completely inadequate for safety purposes.

“But no cop in the history of law enforcement has responded to an assailant with a semiautomatic weapon by attempting to disable him with a friggan’ taser,” Fox said.

Fox again repeated at 1:39 a.m. that no posters had offered him statistics or concrete scenarios disproving or proving the idea.

“I would like to know the basis of your contention that a gun in the context I have described above is likely to be used improperly,” Fox said. “I am talking about a gun kept in a safe that will never come out of said safe unless there is an armed intruder, or for training purposes under the supervision of an expert.”

He continued that he was looking for statements based on evidence.

“Again, I am asking for realistic scenarios supporting your contention that this is a ‘bad, bad idea’ or that ‘someone innocent will get hurt,’” Fox said. “Unsupported conclusory statements like these just don’t advance the analysis.”

He also said that since firearms account for less than one percent of accidental deaths and roughly half of American households have them, he said it was an overstatement that a gun would likely be misused.

Fox said in an earlier post that he wasn’t taking any solution off the table.

“So I don’t think any solution, including having some sort of tactical firearm in every school, should simply be brushed aside because it conflicts with a certain worldview or sentiments about guns,” Fox said. “Now, we might decide that arming our schools is not practical. … But I can tell you one thing for sure: such determinations should be made by safety and security experts who have carefully considered the issue, not by bloggers who are so afraid of guns that they don’t know which end the projectile comes out.”

School Board Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) said Thursday afternoon he hadn’t talked with Fox, but that there were no plans to bring up what Fox posted online at any future school board meeting.

He called the idea “logistically impossible,” and said he had received emails from constituents concerned about school safety, most of whom suggested metal detectors or shatterproof windows.

“I highly doubt Loudoun County is ready for that,” Hornberger said of the idea.

Fox isn’t the first to float the idea, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) addressed the possibility of allowing school officials to carry firearms on campus.

“I know there is a knee-jerk reaction against that, but I think we should have a discussion about it,” McDonnell told radio station WTOP Tuesday.

Loudoun County Democratic Chairman Evan Macbeth issued a statement Thursday afternoon stating he opposed efforts by State Sen. Dick Black (R-4th) and Del. Bob Marshall (R-13th) to require gun training for at least one employee of every Virginia public school.

“The fact that Senator Black supports such wrong-headed and nonsensical legislation is offensive. In the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy we require serious solutions to address gun violence in our
country,” Macbeth said. “In a nation where guns have been the second-leading cause of death of children aged 10 to 19, requiring that guns be present in our schools makes the problem worse, not better.”


Oranges869…..it’s not the initial training of staff you have to worry about…it would be continuous training.  What are the costs for that?  I’d rather they spend the money on a panic button than train a principal who may or may not be in the school at the time of an incident.  Anyone can push a panic button…not everyone can be trained to shoot an intruder (many of whom are wearing body armor) in such a public setting.

@ Oranges
“aberrations”? 20 kids get shot and killed, some of whom were shot 11 times and you call this an “aberration”? Not a horrific preventable tragedy… nope.. just an aberration. I’d like to see you explain that to one of the kids parents.
“oh hey, sorry to hear your kid got shot and killed, but it was just an aberration, don’t worry about it”
The logic of throwing more guns at the problem is the equivalent of throwing more gasoline on a fire to put it out.

That’s up to the movie theater owner. We have gun free zones and guess what they are all protected by armed gaurds, Congress, Senators offices, hospitals even DMV’s. Yet the tree huggers like Frank are willing to let aberrations like Lanza a unguarded killing zone.

@ Oranges
Please also include cost for providing armed security at each and every movie theater in Loudoun. Using NRA logic, this must also be factored in.

You can buy safes, guns and provide training for armed resistence at 53 elementary schools here in Loudoun County for 2.65 million dollars. That’s a better way to spend money then for 8 turf football fields at a cost of a million dollars a pop wouldn’t you say Mr. Kevin Kuesters? Gun free zones are protected by armed law enforcement officers except the schools where the most vulnerable of us go to learn.

The NRA is an incredibly anti-American organization.  It would be perfectly happy to turn our country into an armed camp. 

Someday, perhaps those who embrace the goals of the NRA will come to realize they’ve been played as fools by the gun lobby.  The NRA exists to sell guns and tear down any of society’s protective measures if they conflict with the goal of selling more guns. 

SImple as that.  If they ever, EVER have an idea or position that conflicts with the prime directive (sell more guns) then that would indeed be worthy of dicussion.

Virginia politicans that pander to the NRA (like McDonnell who floated their “arm the teachers” nonsense a few days before the NRA came out with it) do so because their headquarters is here in Virginia.  That is our states shame.

@ NRA Gun Nuts
Quite a tragic turn of today in Upstate NY. Yet another shooting, this time by a deranged man whom set a fire to lure in his Firefighter victims.
Please comment. Is it your stance that we now place armed security guards at all of our nation’s fires to prevent further bloodshed?

Well I am sure the NRA would say the armed security guard and deputy involved in Columbine were not trained adequately….or too concerned about hitting other students instead of the two gunman…why they should have just gone charging in there with their guns blazing…..more guns are always the answer when it comes to the NRA.

My guess is that most faculty and staff would prefer for resource officers to handle security.  NRA lobbyists and gun sale profiteers should pay for all additional costs to secure schools, not our local taxes.

@waya: Less guns does not apply to criminals and crazy people. They will obtain all the guns they need one way or another. All your proposal ends up doing is restricting guns to good honest and responsible people while the criminals and crazy people are the only armed people roaming around. Just look at Mexican Drug Gangs. They have more guns than the police and Mexico has some of the toughest gun-control laws in the world.

The answer isn’t more guns. .it is LESS guns.  There was an armed security guard at Columbine.  Guess the NRA crazies conveniently forgot about that.

Ed said: Ever since we allowed Pilots to carry a firearm, we have not had a hijacking.

There were only two hijacking involving US planes between 1978 and 2001 - one of which was a private FedEx plane, so suggesting that we can attribute the lack of hijackings to pilots carrying (who, by the way, have had their share of “accidental discharges”) is ridiculous.

First of all, there was an armed guard at Columbine. Both he AND a police officer in the area exchanged gunfire with the boys - neither hit and both stopped when the shooters entered the school because of the chance of hitting the wrong person.

Second - if you look at the ACTUAL rate of school shootings, there is a 1 in 10,000 chance of a school being targeted and a 1 in one MILLION chance of any given child being shot to death in a mass school shooting.  The odds of a high school athlete dropping dead during a sporting event due to an unknown heart condition are higher - yet no one suggests that we require cardiac stress tests for anyone signing up for a sport.

This is a knee-jerk reaction that would do nothing but make some people feel better - but not the kids.  There is research that shows that kids feel LESS safe in schools where they add armed guards (the “it must not be safe if we need them” idea).

Consequences of guns in school:  deaths due to unintended discharges.  Mortality rates is on average .3 deaths per 100,000 people but could be 5 times that for high school populations. Is it acceptable to have a gun-related death every few years because some think guns in schools will reduce the risk of a tragedy like Sandy Hook?

If we put guns in schools, it ought to be in the holster of a sworn deputy, not the music teacher.

Is Bill Fox or any of the other gun nuts commenting here aware that there was an armed guard on duty at Columbine at the time of the massacre? Who shot at and missed Eric Harris?

More guns in the school won’t stop this….it did not stop Columbine…where there was an armed deputy on duty at the time.

Mr Fox….please tell me how fast the principal is going to be able to get the gun from the safe and then with that adrenaline rush be able to shoot with any degree of accuracy….will the school district pay for all the shooting time necessary for the principal to reach marksmanship level?  How about having panic buttons installed in each office that is directly wired to the local authorities along with sounding an all school alarm?  Next, let’s get bullet proof glass in all the classroom windows as well as bullet proof doors.  Since the schools have cinder block walls in the classroom, the kids would be safely contained if the teacher locks the door from the inside.

Mr. Fox, lets keep educators doing what they do best.  I assume that LCPS has some kind of security plans?  I do know from going to my childs elemenatary school they do not have a “resource office”.  How about a private security guard similar to one you see at DMV?  Cops need to do cop stuff, not baby sit a building.  This will also help the economy by creating more jobs.  Health care should be the next issue.  School counslers need to be empowered to send troubled kids for help.  Then fix the health care system so they get the help, not a pill.  The big issue is as a society are we ready to look into the mirror? Gun control does not fix poor parenting or broken homes.  Violence on tv or video games that promote killing need to change as much as regulations on fire arms.  Banning guns will not stop those that want a particular gun from obtaining one.  We can not stop drugs.  So tax the crap out of a 30 round magizine, $100 a round?  I do not think many will be sold.  A sensable form to purchase a fire arm, not the joke that is in place now.  I am a parent of two children, conceled carry permit holder, and member of the NRA.  Not all gun owners are gun nuts.

Got a liberal automated call yesterday lying about Senator Black’s stand on guns.  I called his office and found that no one is trying to force anyone to carry a gun.  If a teacher is properly trained and qualifies for a concealed carry permit, they can voluntarily carry concealed if they want to. 

Like it or not, these “gun free zones” aren’t working - they may make you feel better but the reality is that it makes people a sitting duck because murders know the people there are defenseless.

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