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John Overmyer, NewsArt

Rep. Tony Cornish: Schools need firearms

  • Article by: TONY CORNISH
  • December 27, 2012 - 7:22 PM

As one of your state representatives, I back the National Rifle Association's proposal 100 percent, inasmuch as it calls for an armed guard of some type in every school.

No. I'm not an NRA pawn, and I don't take a dime from them, directly or through other channels.

It's interesting how some legislators speak to the public with what they think might be a popular response for the media. U.S. Rep. Tim Walz recently said he was shocked with the NRA's proposal to put an armed cop in each school, in what he thought would turn schools into "armed encampments."

Actually, Walz's home school district in Mankato, where he taught, has had armed cops in its schools for years, partially paid by the district. Three surrounding rural school districts also pay to have armed cops in their schools. They are accepted well by teachers, students and staff and give a measure of security.

Churches in the metro area have had uniformed cops walking through the halls in back of their sanctuaries and around classrooms full of kids for years, armed with .40-caliber Glocks and with Tasers. If churches feel comfortable protecting children with cops, shouldn't schools?

Then we heard from the education community, which claimed to have "experts" in the field of security and doesn't want "armed teachers." These alleged experts don't seem to realize that armed teachers have been allowed by state law for years in Minnesota and that some have taken advantage of it. I know there are teachers who carry while instructing.

Here's the bottom line: When a psycho pulls up out front, you have seconds to act. A camera won't do any good unless there's a gun behind it. A window won't do any good unless it's bulletproof. All the counselors and therapists you can hire won't do any good unless they are armed.

You can't afford to completely encase your schools with bulletproof windows and steel locked doors -- but you can afford to share the cost of an officer with the city or county, as some districts are doing.

If colleges can pay their coaches millions per year and even our small schools can pour thousands into sports programs, they can afford part of an officer's salary.

And please don't use the two examples where guards did no good. The Red Lake School security officer who was shot was unarmed, and the deputy in Columbine was not even inside the school and had other duties assigned.

Then, gun control? We don't live in Mayberry anymore.

If you think a school shooter is going to drop his evil plan because he wakes up and sees he has to buy a 10-round magazine instead of a 30-round magazine, keep dreaming. It's more ineffective, "feel-good" legislation.

Also, do you really want someone in Washington, D.C., defining the difference between an "assault rifle" and a "sporting firearm" when they can't even balance a budget and are willing to jump off the fiscal cliff?

Everyone take a deep breath and ask themselves: "Has gun control ever done us any good whatsoever, so far?"

Finally, yes, improve overall security measures. But hire a cop with a gun. You can't afford not to.

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Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, is a member of the Minnesota House and is a retired peace officer.

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