This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 10, 2019:
President Lincoln would not have been able to contain himself. In his sixth debate with Senator Stephen Douglas in October, 1858, Lincoln relieved himself of a quote that reverberates down to today:
Has [your argument] not got down as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death?
In an effort to justify its existence – stridently anti-gun – the Giffords Law Center (GLC) published a report with as much substance as Lincoln’s pigeon. Its position has been that guns are dangerous and that therefore no one should own one. It reported on how guns are being mishandled in schools in America.
It based its report on data obtained from another equally anti-gun group, the Gun Violence Archive, founded in 2014 and staffed with 20 eager researchers trying to find something – anything – to bolster Giffords’ position. After researching the past five years, it found some 60 “incidents” where guns were mishandled in some way in schools. Its email promotion of the study was breathless: “This week Giffords Law Center released indisputable evidence that armed adults frequently mishandled guns in schools.”
Hang on tight. It gets better.
Three of those “incidents” occurred in Pennsylvania. Philly.com reported that at the Russell Byers Charter School in Center City, a middle school student bumped into a staffer’s bag during class last year and realized that it contained a firearm! That “incident” was included in the study. At a Washington County high school, a student found a loaded gun that a security guard had left behind in the Men’s Room. That outrageous “incident” made its way into the study. And in Chambersburg in Franklin County, a group of elementary school students found a teacher’s loaded gun on top of a toilet! One more “incident” to prove the point.
It gets even better. Three students were injured in a school in Seaside, California, when a teacher accidentally fired his gun in a classroom during a safety demonstration. In another instance, a first grade substitute teacher in Blountsville, Alabama, was arrested after “his gun accidentally discharged” and a bullet fragment hit one of his students.
A perusal of the other “incidents” reveal how far GLC, using the data from GVA, has to reach to prove its point: guns are dangerous, teachers are stupid and not to be trusted, professionals make mistakes, and therefore no one should be allowed to own one.
Under the heading, “Guns left accessible to children” one finds:
Glenwood School | Princeton, West Virginia:
March 28, 2019 — A substitute teacher was arrested after telling another staff member that he had a gun in his briefcase. No shots fired. [Source]
Van Horn High School | Independence, Missouri:
February 28, 2019 — A school counselor was arrested after having sexual contact with a teen. In the process of her arrest, a loaded handgun was found in her purse. No shots fired. [Source]
Kingston High School | Kingston, Michigan:
January 19, 2019 — A grandfather left a handgun at a high school during a basketball tournament. A woman found the gun on the floor of the bleachers. No shots fired. [Source]
Under the heading “Guns discharged unintentionally”:
Blountsville Elementary | Blountsville, Alabama:
March 22, 2019 — A substitute teacher unintentionally discharged a gun in a first grade classroom. One student was sent to the nurse’s office after being struck by a fragment. [Source]
Jefferson Davis Middle School | Jacksonville, Florida:
February 14, 2019 — A false threat led to a brief lockdown at a middle school. While investigating the scene, an officer’s gun unintentionally discharged. No injuries. [Source]
Simonsdale Elementary School | Portsmouth, Virginia:
November 20, 2018 — A parent brought a gun to an elementary school. The gun unintentionally fired, and the bullet ricocheted, striking a woman in her lower body. [Source]
Under the heading “Guns mishandled during discipline”:
Barcelona Elementary School | Albuquerque, New Mexico:
December 20, 2018 — A school custodian chased six kids who he allegedly thought were trying to break into the school. The custodian pointed a gun at the kids and made threatening statements about shooting them. No shots fired. [Source]
ECHO AFL Academy for Learning | Dolton, Illinois:
November 28, 2018 — A school security guard pulled a gun on a student after breaking up a fight at school. The guard also threatened to kill the student while holding them by the neck. No shots fired. [Source]
Oxford High School | Oxford, Michigan:
October 3, 2017 — During a physical struggle between a student and an officer, the officer’s gun unintentionally discharged when the student tried to grab it. No injuries. [Source]
The GLC included incidents where guns were “used in times of personal stress or conflict” to bolster its argument:
W.T. Chipman Middle School | Harrington, Delaware:
December 5, 2018 — A middle school wrestling coach got into an argument with a 13-year-old student during practice. The coach tried to choke the victim, and pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the student in the restroom. No shots fired. [Source]
Eastern Technical High School | Essex, Maryland:
November 12, 2018 — A school resource officer shot and killed himself at school when students were present. The school was placed on lockdown, but no students or other staff were harmed. [Source]
Norwalk High School | Norwalk, Connecticut:
September 4, 2018 — A cafeteria worker was arrested after threatening to shoot a gun in the school. Officers discovered a .22 caliber rifle in the trunk of the cafeteria worker’s car. No shots fired. [Source]
Finally the report included “Other incidents of guns brought onto campus”:
Nandua High School | Onley, Virginia:
March 27, 2019 — A substitute teacher was arrested for bringing a gun onto campus. No shots fired. [Source]
Southwest Edgecombe High School | Pinetops, North Carolina:
March 18, 2019 — A school custodian was arrested for having a loaded gun in his car. Other staff members reported that he made threats against them. No shots fired. [Source]
Gray Collegiate Academy | West Columbia, South Carolina:
February 14, 2019 — A contract employee with the school’s food service vendor was charged with carrying a gun on school grounds. No shots fired. [Source]
This kind of research designed to promote a point of view is called “padding.” Nothing in the report mentioned how many crazed individuals decided not to commit mayhem because he knew that some personnel at a particular school were armed. After all, it’s hard to prove that something didn’t happen.
Of the more than 100,000 schools in the United States, nearly half of them have the power to determine whether or not to employ armed guards – school resource officers – or allow teachers, if they care to, to carry a firearm on campus, or both. In its vast undertaking, the GLC, with the help of the GVA, found 60 – 60! – “incidents” that make up its study.
No reference was made to John Lott’s ground-breaking study (revised and updated), “More Guns, Less Crime,” which persuasively argues that the mere presence of a firearm not only reduces the chances of gun violence, but other studies show a sharp decline in overall violence as more and more Americans take advantage of their right to keep and bear arms.
The study made no reference to one statistic that is indisputable. In 2016 there were more than 37,000 deaths caused by adults “mishandling” much more dangerous tools than firearms: motor vehicles. That works out to be an average of 102 motor vehicle related deaths every day.
The study has the distinctive odor of desperation, proving nothing but the lengths to which groups like Giffords will go in an attempt to prove an unprovable point.
Where is Mr. Lincoln now that we so desperately need him?
Giffords.org: Every Incident of Mishandled Guns in Schools
The Trace: Do Armed Guards Prevent School Shootings?