RALEIGH – Among the calls for gun control in the aftermath of the mass murder at a Parkland, Florida high school, many who offer common sense tactics to discourage or prevent such heinous acts at schools that still respect the Second Amendment are drowned out or dismissed entirely by the Left and squishy Republicans as part of the problem.
One of those common sense conservatives is State House member Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus), who spoke up at a committee meeting last week to suggest that arming and training retired military and police, or even school personnel themselves, might be good way to discourage violent attacks or end them quickly to save lives.
In response, Pittman got mere eye-rolls and sneers.
First in Freedom Daily spoke caught up with Pittman in order to give a platform to a conservative with real solutions that don’t involve stripping citizens’ rights or smearing those that value the principles behind the Second Amendment.
Following is Pittman in his own words, talking common sense conservative approaches to a tragic problem.
FFD: Rep. Pittman, last week you suggested in committee that perhaps arming and training school personnel could prevent or lessen the death tolls of atrocities like that of a Parkland, Florida high school last week. What was the response of the committee?
LP:“Regarding the question of how to prevent such incidents as the one that occurred in Florida [last week], I proposed a solution at our last meeting which makes as much sense, and is more in compliance with the Second Amendment, than anything else I have heard being suggested.
Yet, instead of being given fair consideration, my proposal was sneered at in a very dismissive manner. You might be surprised at how many people actually agree with me, who don’t have the ear of the media.
One of them is a police officer who provides such training. He met with Rep. Speciale and me yesterday, and would like to speak to this committee about offering training services for teachers and school administrators, as I have suggested. I expect the committee members to hear from him, asking to meet with this committee, and I hope that will be granted.
We have to get over this useless hysteria about guns and allow school personnel to have a chance to defend the lives of their students and themselves. If that had been in place at Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine and that school in Florida [last week], many lives could have been saved that were lost before the police could get there.
That is the bottom line. It is irresponsible of us not even to consider this option. If this officer is not heard in this committee, Rep. Speciale and I intend to invite him to speak to [our committee].
By not allowing responsible citizens to exercise their right of self-defense, government officials are accountable for the number of deaths and injuries being as high as they are in these incidents. That must change.
FFD: Are there examples where this approach has been taken?
LP: It is my understanding that about a third of all States currently have this practice. It is also my understanding that the officer at the school in Florida, on a forty-five acre campus, never got to where the shooter was. Even on a smaller campus, one officer is not enough. If fact, if I were going to mount such an attack, a lone officer is the first one I would take out. Then the rest of the campus would be defenseless. The teachers or administrators would then be the first line of defense. Having retired police officers or veterans take on this job would also be a good idea; but where they are not available, it comes down to school personnel, anyway.
As I said in further comments in committee, if that brave principal at Sandy Hook Elementary had been armed, she could have stood still, taken aim, and taken out that shooter, saving her own life and the lives of numerous students, rather than running at him unarmed and being shot down along with many students.
We are not talking about arming anyone who is unwilling to take on the responsibility, or authorizing anyone to do this without proper training.
FFD: Do you think arming personnel or having armed security would actually prevent an attack in the first place?
LP: I think having armed personnel on the scene is always a deterrent to such attacks. Even if someone does go ahead and attack, at least there is a chance to stop it if someone is armed. I’d rather have someone there with the opportunity to fight back and protect the kids than not.
The police officer who spoke with Rep. Speciale and me offers tactical training, not just how to shoot a gun, similar to what law enforcement officers receive. That is what I have in mind, anyway. Teachers and administrators thus trained and approved would have to have concealed carry permits, as I understand it.
FFD: What about just allowing teachers licensed to concealed-carry have their firearms while in school? Or do you think there should be a higher threshold?
LP: Should teachers be allowed to practice concealed carry on school grounds? I think they should if they have been permitted for such; but I understand the concern many people have for the need for proper training. So I am not proposing that they be allowed to do so without that training.
FFD: The loudest voices after high-casualty evil acts that involve a gun, like the one perpetrated last week in Florida, almost exclusively focus on more gun control. Without access to the guns, they say, these murders couldn’t happen, and therefore we should further restrict that access. What is wrong with this line of thinking?
LP: Tighter gun control laws are always the wrong answer. The laws we already have do not hinder criminals and terrorists from obtaining weapons. Even if we did away with all the guns that currently exist, I recently learned that a functioning gun can be produced on a 3D printer.
Such laws only hinder the law-abiding citizens who follow the law from being able to defend themselves and each other. Those laws violate the Second Amendment, which, regardless of what some courts have said, does not leave any room for such restrictions on the people’s right to keep and bear arms.
Gun control laws do not actually enhance public safety. They actually have had the opposite effect. Where concealed carry has been implemented, violent crime has actually decreased. Now, of course, laws against felons or the mentally ill having guns are necessary. I’m not talking about those. I’m only talking about the provisions that are against honest, responsible citizens’ ability to keep and bear arms
FFD: What can be done, and what steps have you taken as a representative, to insure those rights are not further restricted as a result of emotional gun control pushes in reaction to mass murders in the U.S.?
LP: I have been trying, through several bills ever since I have been in Raleigh, to move us back to the original intent of the Second Amendment. Without the right to keep and bear arms, we become helpless victims to those who have weapons.
Our Founding Fathers would be outraged at those laws that interfere with the exercise of that right, and they would have the common sense to know that only the criminals, terrorists and tyrants are protected by them.
Gun control is not about public safety, as some would have you believe. Gun control is about the government controlling the people, rather than the people controlling the government. The Founding Fathers would have none of that. That is why North Carolina insisted on a Bill of Rights, including the right to keep and bear arms, before we would ratify the US Constitution.
And that is why North Carolina was First in Freedom. We need more politicians like Pittman who are willing to stand up for Individual Rights, even when emotions and knee-jerk reactions draw even reasonable people into abandoning those rights for the empty promises of safety and security.
Catch Rep. Larry Pittman on the Bill LuMaye Show Wednesday to talk about his common sense solutions.