13 recommendations to stop school shootings

Most Americans are asking how can another active shooter incident be prevented? News media, social media, and gun experts are all giving their views on this sensitive but critical problem with a nationwide impact.

Most Americans are asking how can another active shooting incident be prevented? News media, social media, and gun experts are all giving their views on this sensitive but critical problem with a nationwide impact. Facts and not opinions may be needed to make an informative decision.

START WITH EXISTING LAW

Let’s start with “Bill of Rights,” Amendment II, that has been in force since December 15, 1791:

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

In the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held that the:

“Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a legal firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such self-defense within the home.”

The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court decision has confirmed the right of carrying a weapon through their Amendment II interpretation.

The Federal government prohibits convicted felons from owning a gun under federal rule, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1).  It says that anyone “who has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year” is barred from possessing firearms. In Texas, a felon is prohibited to possess a firearm under Texas Penal Code, Section 46.04(a)(1)(2). Understanding that law-abiding citizens, not felons, are allowed to possess legal firearms, then what are strategies to prevent active shooter incidents in Texas?

 

WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS

The only qualification pertinent to the purchase of legal firearms set by Texas gun laws is that the purchaser is at least eighteen years of age and a resident of the state. To carry a concealed handgun, a person must apply for a license with the Department of Public Safety and meet specific requirements:

  1. Complete application
  2. Two passport color photographs
  3. At least 21 years of age
  4. A resident of the state of Texas
  5. Course completion, and
  6. An affidavit stating the applicant’s full understanding of laws and rights, and lawful fulfillment of the requirements.

Upon successful completion of the course, the student sends the Certificate of Training form to Department of Public Safety (DPS) to conduct a background check and complete the application. 

So, what else can Texas do to prevent active shooter incidents in school?

Students arriving at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Students arriving at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TEXAS

  • 1. Texas should consider revising the age limit for purchasing legal weapons.
  • 2. Mandate private license dealers to run background checks on potential purchasers.
  • 3. Texas should consider revising the waiting period before obtaining the purchased legal firearm.
  • 4. Selling or purchase of legal firearms must be done only from a licensed dealer.
  • 5. Review and modify the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) and the Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act.
  • 6. To renew a Texas license to carry a handgun, legislatures should consider revising the current renewal of permits issuing time.
  • 7. Renewal of license should include taking a short refresher Texas license to carry a handgun-training course.
  • 8. Authorize DPS access to gun purchaser’s medical, mental records or history of violence and psychological distress, for background check purposes only.
  • 9. Allow educators who may already be adapted to weaponry and educator’s with law enforcement or military background to have access to carry on campus when possessing a Texas license to carry handgun permit.
  • 10. Texas school safety audits should be filed with Texas School Safety Center annually.
  • 11. Increase certified uniform law enforcement presence on every high school campus.
  • 12. Federal law enforcement agencies must consider taking school threats serious.
  • 13, Address and reduce student’s posited hatred toward campus faith-based ideology to help foster a positive school climate.

Authentic school safety requires collaboration between law enforcement leadership, school administrators, local community leaders, and faith-based leaders to demand concrete action. More importantly, solicit student input to determine how current threats may impact the school’s vulnerability to particular crises. America needs to find ways to eliminate or reduce these shootings while protecting the Second Amendment.

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