K-12 through university. Is this where we want to go to deal with violence at schools?

A committee of the Arizona Legislature is weighing arguments made today over a proposal to let people with permits to carry concealed weapons bring guns to K-12 schools, community colleges and universities.

The Senate’s Judiciary Committee listened to more than two hours of testimony about the proposal, but didn’t take a vote.

The testimony came four days after a gunman opened fire during a lecture at Northern Illinois University, killing five young people before turning a gun on himself.

Supporters say the permit-holders should be allowed to carry guns at schools so they can defend themselves and others if a gunman starts shooting people and police haven’t yet arrived at the scene.

It should be clear now that declaring schools “gun free zones” does not make them gun free zones. It makes them killing fields if a mad gunman enters them and opens fire.

Allowing concealed carry at schools won’t, as some believe, mean that everyone will be armed and when violence erupts a free-for-all will ensue. It would mean that people who have demonstrated responsibility with firearms by undergoing certified training would be able to obtain a permit to carry. Those people would be the ones who would be most likely to respond to a mad gunman. They would be able to return fire and possibly end rampages and save lives.

There will be unintended consequences for allowing concealed carry at schools, as there are with anything, and some of those consequences might not be good. But on balance, a gunman chooses to attack places where there isn’t likely to be any armed response. If there is the possibility of an armed response at a school, that possibility alone might deter attacks. If there is an attack, armed students or faculty might be able to stop the gunman. It happened at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia on January 16, 2002.

I think concealed carry at schools is worth considering. Let states decide for themselves and see what happens. Gun free zones clearly don’t work, so we have three choices: Increase school security to the point that educational institutions double as lockdown compounds; erode or do away with our 2nd Amendment rights; or allow responsible citizens to defend themselves and others around them.