To the Editor:
It appears the Cranston City Council is in a quandary about allowing concealed weapons in schools. The same quandary the legislature finds itself in on the same issue.
The answer for both would appear to be as plain as the entry way to the State House. If concealed weapons did, in fact, make a place safer, one would have to assume the Legislature would provide themselves that measure of safety by allowing weapons into its chambers. They decidedly have not since everyone is searched for weapons before being allowed entry into the State House.
If, by its actions on its own behalf, the Legislature has determined its members are safer without guns in the building (except those carried by law enforcement), how can that Legislature not assure the safety of children by keeping guns out of schools. And, how can the Cranston City Council not make it clear to the General Assembly that it is being two faced by protecting itself while putting our children at jeopardy with its stance on concealed weapons in schools.
Those who advocate for widespread gun-use use anecdotes to make their argument - the "what ifs" of having a weapon carrier at the site of mass shootings. Realistically, most mass shootings happen very quickly leaving little time for anyone to react before significant damage is done. Can one imagine the situation law enforcement would encounter when responding to an active shooter and finding several individuals with guns. It was not that many years ago Providence police killed one of their own in that type of situation.
What advocates do not do is look at the numbers. In the United States, with its liberal gun laws, each year over ten out of 100,000 people die of gunshots. In Canada, that number is two. In Australia, with its strict gun laws, that number is one. In the United Kingdom the number is one in every 400,000 people. If guns make one safer, how is it the country with the most guns has the most gun deaths – by far?
Looking closer, Rhode Island, with fairly strict gun laws and a gun ownership rate of 15.9 percent loses 3.22 per 100,000 people each year to gun violence. Alaska, with gun ownership of 56.4% and liberal laws, loses over 19 people per 100,000. Guns make people safer? Not when you look at the numbers rather than wishful thinking about some hero rushing in with his or her pistol and saving the day.
The City Council needs to look at the numbers, forget who is sending campaign contributions to influence their votes, and focus on the safety of our children in schools. When addressing the safety of our children, it should not matter which side of the aisle you sit on. The children of Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives are all equally at risk. Do something about it.
Joseph H. Crowley
Past president of the RI Assn. of School Principals