Yesterday in Birmingham, Ala., at least two gunshots were fired during dismissal at Huffman High School, killing one student and injuring another. According to the Birmingham police chief, the shots were considered unintentionally fired, though many questions remain. The school was briefly on lockdown, and after the students were released, authorities determined the shooting was not perpetrated by someone outside of the school.
As the gun lobby continues to push legislation across the country that would arm teachers, this latest tragedy underscores precisely why forcing guns into schools is dangerous. Guns in schools put children at risk of unintentional shootings and escalating conflict, full stop. That’s why teachers and school safety experts oppose these bills. Statehouses should listen to school safety experts and local communities, rather than let the gun lobby put children’s lives at risk.
Instead of arming teachers and civilians, states can save lives by enacting Red Flag Laws, creating a way for family members and law enforcement to intervene before a disturbed potential shooter arrives at the schoolhouse door. Mass shooters like the 19-year-old in Parkland, Fla. often display warning signs before committing violent acts. When a person is a danger to self or others, loved ones and law enforcement are often the first to see signs that they pose a threat. Red Flag Laws allow them to seek help from a court to remove guns from dangerous situations.