Every school shooting invites a great deal of discussion. What the problem is, what “the solution” might be and so on. What becomes evident fairly quickly is that there’s no magic bullet, so to speak, that will prevent these atrocities. There are, however, a number of smaller things that can significantly reduce the odds of a school shooting happening.
It’s obvious an “assault weapon” ban simply won’t do the trick. It’s obvious that universal background checks won’t likely help much in this regard, either.
But after an incident like Santa Fe, it’s clear there’s something that can and should be used to great effect. A common enough device that, if used correctly, could have prevented a number of school shootings in the past and could prevent more in the future. They don’t even cost that much; you would be shocked how inexpensive they can be.
The object is a gun safe. You just have to use it.
As Andrew Carnegie said, put all your eggs in one basket and watch that basket. In other words, the correct usage of a gun safe is to store all of your firearms, save a carry gun or a home defense gun, in said safe and lock it. When you aren’t home, all firearms should be locked away securely, as well as any ammunition.
Correct usage is also to not allow anyone else access, except perhaps a spouse. All guns go in the safe unless they’re under your control, and that’s it.
Would this prevent all school shootings from happening? Of course not. Some firearms used were purchased legally by the shooter after they had attained sufficient age, and some school shooters obtained theirs via straw purchase. However, would securing firearms prevent a good many of them?
Probably. Most school shooters, you see, obtain firearms from a parent, often by using unsecured guns or a safe that they have access to.
The Santa Fe shooter gained access to his father’s shotgun and .38 revolver that reportedly were stored in a closet. The Sandy Hook shooter had access to his mother’s gun safe, which allowed him to get the gun he used to kill her and 20 students and teachers at the school.
One of the perpetrators of the Westside Middle School shootings of 1998, near Jonesboro, Ark. had access to his grandfather’s gun collection, which is how they gathered nine guns and ammunition to carry out their attack, killing five in the process.
More examples are out there, of course.
Granted, having a gun safe, keeping them locked up and controlling access to the safe isn’t going to stop all school or mass shootings. There are other steps that could be taken to reduce their number or minimize casualties. School security needs to be much more of a consideration that it is now.
Armed guards with adequate training, for instance. Reducing ingress o schools to one or two controlled entrances with metal detectors is another. Teachers choosing to carry concealed firearms with adequate training would be a positive step, as well.
There is no panacea, no magic bullet that’s going to keep these horrible events from happening. But if there is one thing the average gun owner can do manage the risk, it’s to get a gun safe and strictly control access to it.