Despite efforts across Idaho to promote common-sense gun violence prevention solutions, state lawmakers have been spending time and energy prioritizing risky legislation that would jeopardize public safety. Just last week, the Idaho state legislature introduced Senate Bill 1384, legislation to force schools to allow more guns on school grounds.
This month, however, the Idaho School Board Association’s winter edition of Slate Magazine focused on how to help prevent gun violence in schools — starting with proven gun violence prevention solutions such as secure storage programs like Be SMART.
Here is a snippet from “Getting in Front of School Safety: How Idaho Schools can Help Prevent Gun Violence”:
“From 2013 to 2018, Everytown identified 405 incidents of gunfire on school grounds. Of these, 260 occurred on the grounds of an elementary, middle, or high school, resulting in 109 deaths and 219 injuries. This is a devastating reality and more reason why we need meaningful action to keep our students, teachers, and schools safe
Research also shows that the guns that are brought to schools are obtained from home, and school boards can play a crucial role engaging with parents about the importance of secure gun storage. There are a number of local initiatives and public awareness campaigns about secure firearm storage that school boards can turn to for support in this area, such as the Moms Demand Action-developed, PTA-endorsed, program Be SMART
[L]awmakers owe it to Idahoans to advocate for common-sense laws that work to keep our communities safe. In the meantime, Idaho schools can stand up for our children and get ahead on school safety to intervene before devastating tragedies strike our communities. School board trustees are elected with the authority to create and enforce policies that can help reduce gun violence. By adopting a comprehensive set of proven and effective solutions on school and student safety – such as establishing safe and equitable school policies and programs, encouraging a culture of responsible gun ownership, and informing parents about secure storage — we can create safe environments for students to thrive. Our teachers and kids deserve it.”
Read Slate Magazine’s full article here.
In 2019, legislation similar to SB 1384 failed after significant opposition from the public, including the Idaho Sheriffs Association and the Idaho Chiefs of Police who issued a joint statement condemning the proposal. Research suggests that allowing more firearms on school grounds could be a serious risk to safety. Legislation to allow guns in schools, like SB 1384, is sold as a way to keep children safe, but in reality, it does just the opposite and puts children at risk of unintentional shootings and escalating conflict without decreasing the risk of an active shooter. That’s why teachers and school safety experts oppose these proposals.
More information about the risks of guns in schools is available here. Statistics about gun violence in Idaho are available here, and information on how Idaho’s gun laws compare to other states overall is available here.
If you have any questions, or would like to speak with volunteers with Idaho Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action or survivors of gun violence, please don’t hesitate to reach out.