Are prison-style schools a solution to assault-style weapons?

The NRA’s answer to school shootings is to “harden our schools,” putting up fences, creating entrapment areas, removing windows and trees, and giving them an atmosphere more appropriate for correctional facilities than educational institutions.

Never mind that creating dystopian prison-style schools for our children seems unwise and, frankly, un-American; I want to talk about a subject that conservatives can really get passionate about: taxes.

Retrofitting our 100,000 public schools with ballistic glass, steel plate, high fences, and vehicle barriers isn’t going to come cheap. Maintaining all of that and hiring security professionals or resource officers is going to be a significant recurring cost. All together these costs will run into the tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars.

Did the NRA forget that we already have a problem resourcing our schools with the personnel and materials they need to fulfill their mission of educating our children?

Even if we could find the funds to turn our schools into fortresses, why exactly should all taxpayers be expected to shoulder that cost for the fewer than 10%† of us who choose to go target shooting or hunting with “assault-style” guns of the same type used in the vast majority of mass shootings?

And, by the way, none of this effort will protect us when we bring the family to a movietheater or while we are worshiping in church.

There is a much cheaper, complete, and equitable solution: regulate the bejeezus out of assault-style guns and let the people who choose to use them bear the cost of keeping our kids (and all of us) safe from them.


† The actual percentage is probably much lower than 10%. Estimates on the number of semi-automatic long guns in the US range from 3M to 28M. If we are generous and assume the true figure is 30M, that is still less than 10% of our 325M population. And that’s assuming no one owns more than one, which is certainly not the case. In fact, 50% of all firearms in the U.S. are owned by only 3% of the population. If that ratio holds true for semi-automatic rifles as well, it would leave only 15M (again using our generous estimate) outstanding. As 15M is only about 4.5% of our population, it is probably safe to assume that semi-auto rifle owners account for fewer than 7.5% of Americans.

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