Thanks to the Texas-modified Gun Free School Zone Act of 1990, I can’t carry a firearm inside my daughter’s school. If I was caught doing so I’d be looking at a five-year stretch and the end of my gun rights. So I leave home without it. Which leaves me, a volunteer lunchroom assistant, opening recalcitrant pudding pots and proffering plastic knives, napkins, straws and bathroom passes to some 525 children, unarmed. My only potential weapon against an attacker: a metal and plastic chair. In a crisis, I could run back to my truck. By the time I got back . . . But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a good guy with a gun in the school . . . somewhere . . .
In June, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the Protection of Texas Children Act. The Act creates an optional School Marshal position in charter and public k-12 schools with more than 400 students (one Marshall per school). After tactical prep work—80 hours of training including mental health evaluation(i.e. how to spot clock tower kids), active shooter and emergency situation training, and firearms proficiency requirements—the armed Marshal is good to go.
According to the Act, only the school’s head administrator and law enforcement know the Marshall’s identity. Strangely, worryingly, the Act mandates that the double secret Marshal’s weapon must be kept under lock and key.
Can it be an AR-15? Anyway, are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Nope. The undercover Marshall must be a school employee. Volunteers need not apply. Casting a judicious eye on the teachers’ and administrators’ attitude and attire, considering Austin’s liberal bent, I reckon my kid’s school is a Marshall-free zone. How great is that?
There is a ray of hope for my aspiration to provide personal part-time protection for the most precious life on planet Earth. Under Texas law, an adult can carry a firearm in a school if the Principal OK’s it in writing.
What Austin Principal would [potentially] put his job on the line to “allow” a parent to carry in school? Dunno. But I do know that this article punches a big hole through OpSec, and the Principal in question is as hard to read as The Gulag Archipelago. In Russian. The effort will require a major, sustained charm campaign—exactly the kind of schmoozing for which I’m not known. Still, needs must . . .
The school security situation would have been very different if my daughter and I had ended-up in the Levelland Independent School District, about 30 miles west of Lubbock. Post-Newtown, educators thereabouts decided it was time for teachers to tool-up. Back before the thermostat fell in love with triple digits,Superintendent Baggett told abcnews.go.com he was looking to train and arm a brace of teachers in each school. And so he has.
That’s still not a lot of firepower. But two armed first responders are exponentially better than one, in terms of deterrence and rapid response. And at least they’re “allowed” on-body carry.
Perfectly justified parental paranoia aside, living in left-leaning Silicon Hills has its advantages. Massage Envy is one of them. The chain provides first-class muscle manipulation at a reasonable price (no “happy endings”). The masseurs are built for pressure not pulchritude, but the receptionists tend to be all that and a bag of chips (as the Brits would say).
So . . . what do I do with my gun? I’ve got a small safe in my truck but I don’t feel safe leaving my gun in the truck. For one thing, theft. For another, I like my gun. My gun likes me. We belong together.
The first time I submitted my ancient body to Massage Envy’s mass-market masseuse I asked the counter babe how she wanted to play it, gun storage-wise. She was phenomenally flummoxed. “I have no idea,” she replied. “No one’s ever asked us that before,” she added, as if I’d just enquired if she had genital herpes. The gat ended-up waiting in the truck, harshing my mellow.
Concealed means concealed? I suppose.
The second time I faced the “do I keep my gun close by while she’s kneading my tissue” issue I left the Caracal C in the truck. After discovering (through discreet enquiry) that the masseuse was a Texan with firearms experience, I asked her if she’d mind if I brought my firearm into the room for the next session. “I’d feel a lot safer if you did,” she said. “Just don’t tell anyone.”
Other than TTAG’s 60,000 daily readers, I presume. Still, could there have been a better answer? [Note: I’ll hide my heater during the undressing phase just in case I’m being played.]
The thing about Texas is this: the state’s gun laws haven’t caught up with its gun culture. There’s no open carry, for example.
But The Lone Star State’s heading in the right direction, fast. Open Carry gets a hearing the next time the legislature convenes. And while Texas ain’t as gun-friendly as its perceived to be, the good news is that some states that don’t have a rep for firearms freedom are a lot more pro-gun than you’d imagine.
Newtown or no, there are the 18 states that allow adults to carry loaded weapons onto school grounds with few or minor conditions (amended list courtesy nbcnews.com). Ironically (or not), a few of the states that “allow” concealed carry on campus have a de facto ban on concealed carry (e.g., Hawaii, New Jersey, parts of California).
- Alabama (which bans possessing a weapon on school grounds only if the carrier has “intent to do bodily harm”)
- California (with approval of the superintendent)
- Connecticut (with approval of “school officials”)
- Hawaii (no specific law)
- Idaho (with school trustees’ approval)
- Iowa (with “authorization”)
- Kentucky (with school board approval)
- Massachusetts (with approval of the school board or principal)
- Mississippi (with school board approval)
- Montana (with school trustees’ permission)
- New Hampshire (ban applies only to pupils, not adults)
- New Jersey (with approval from the school’s “governing officer”)
- New York (with the school’s approval)
- Oregon (with a state concealed weapons permit)
- Rhode Island (with a state concealed weapons permit)
- Texas (with the school’s permission)
- Utah (with approval of the “responsible school administrator”)
- Wyoming (as long as it’s not concealed)
I particularly like Wyoming’s take on matter: you can carry on school grounds as long as the gun’s not concealed. (As mlive.com reports, the same holds true in Michigan.) At least someone’s thought this through. You know, for the children.