Surely this debate will never end until both sides can compromise which will probably be when hell freezes over. Nonetheless, many of the Second Amendment supporters are speaking out or taking action to protect their rights but most importantly their guns. Eventually, with the public outcry and fierce opposition to any sort of gun control legislation, the White House as well as Congress will ultimately have to decide what is the best measure for the country. As lawmakers debate arming teachers and administrators to prevent more school shooting, one Colorado school district has voted to allow superintendents and high school principals to carry concealed semi-automatic pistols on campus which some believe sidesteps laws that keep the schools gun free reports the Associated Press. Dolores County, in southwestern Colorado, voted unanimously in February to allow Ty Gray, principal of Dove Creek High School, and Superintendent Bruce Hankins to double as security officers. Both men will receive an extra $1 a year for the responsibility after completing a concealed carry course and receiving permits to carry on campus from the county sheriff. Hankins told the Cortez Journal that this will give them the ability to respond immediately to any shooting. Like Dolores County, New Jersey Passaic Valley High School’s board of education voted unanimously last month to allow the principal, a retired police sergeant, to carry concealed on campus which Ray Rotella has no problem doing so since he has a license to carry one reports the Associated Press.
There is a big difference between Dolores County and Passaic as Rotella explained last month, “It’s a unique situation. I’m not advocating administrators carry weapons. You don’t just give a gun to someone even with a little training. You’re talking about someone who was in law enforcement. I was a firearms instructor.” The reasoning behind the decision in Dolores County was the response time for police is 40 minutes and with a limited budget “it is necessary to rely upon existing staff to fulfill the function of the needed security personnel.” But according to Laura Cutilletta, a senior staff attorney for the San Francisco-based Law Center Prevent Gun Violence, believes that administrators are already dealing with so much and don’t have the experience of a security guard or police officer that the stress may affect their ability to serve the school well. As she explained to the Associated Press, “They’re not used to being in that type of stressful situation, not the type of stress that a police officer faces,” she said. “The likelihood of causing more death and injury is through the roof. Even police officers have a hard time hitting the target during a stressful situation, so how can we expect a superintendent or principal to do it?” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed several bills into law last week that require background checks for private and online gun sales as well as banning ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. Many states already ban guns on campus unless carried by peace officers, security guards, or employees with permission to carry from the school’s superintendent. But after the Sandy Hook Shooting many lawmakers in two dozen states are making it easier for school employees or volunteers to carry on campus for example South Dakota’s Governor, Dennis Daugaard, signed a bill March 8 to allow districts to permit teachers and personnel to serve as sentinels and carry guns on campus which will go into effect July 1.
On the other side of the aisle, the gun violence and gun control ad blitz is in full effect as the $12 million ad buy from Mayor Against Illegal Guns begins to target key Senators such as Heitkamp to support gun control legislation and comprehensive background checks. Bloomberg the co-founder of the group and personally financed the ad blitz is spending $156,000 in North Dakota. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) the target of the ads came out on Tuesday in the Grand Forks Herald to criticize Bloomberg’s federal fun control push saying the mayor needs to worry about his own city’s gun violence than North Dakota. As Heitkamp explained in a statement: “North Dakota continues to have one [of] the highest rates of gun ownership and lowest incidences of gun crime in the country. Yet New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg insists on taking gun-driven crime statistics in his city and from other major cities and trying to force those numbers into a narrative that just does not fit North Dakota.” Bloomberg has defended the ad buy by saying, “These ads bring the voices of Americans — who overwhelmingly support comprehensive and enforceable background checks — into the discussion to move senators to immediately take action to prevent gun violence.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, North Dakota one of the highest rates of gun ownership at 50.7 percent but one of the lowest gun homicide rates at 1.1 per 100,000 below the national rate at 2.75. Heitkamp attributes the low gun violence rate to the proud outdoor heritage that firearm owners in her state understand the rights and responsibilities that come with guns. According to the Associated Press, this is not the first campaign that has targeted Heitkamp’s position on gun control as the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence launched ads attacking her pro-gun stance less than a week after being sworn in as senator in January. The ad read, “No parent should have to send their children to school wondering if they will come home. Shame on you, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), for telling the country on Sunday that the Obama Administration’s response to Newtown — which may include universal background checks and a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines — is ‘extreme.'” The group was responding to Heitkamp’s statement that White House’s gun control plans were too extreme.