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Storing guns at schools off target

Updated: October 7, 2012 8:00AM



We want police prepared to do their job, especially when the job involves thwarting crazed gunmen. We want students to be safe at school.

But when it comes to high-powered weaponry, two plus two does not equal four in this case.

What we don’t need are public schools where semi-automatic rifles are stored and at the ready.

Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek has proposed that his officers who are regularly assigned to four of School District 202’s high schools, each armed with a handgun, be allowed to keep a powerful rifle, such as an AR-15 semi-automatic, in a locked safe at each school so they can better respond to a school shooting, if the situation arose.

The school board is unlikely to take up the idea before Sept. 24. If it does, we hope board members just say no.

While adding guns for the good guys seems to be a predictable concept for police, Konopek appears to be on his own on this one.

One district school, Plainfield South, is within the jurisdiction of the Joliet Police Department, and Joliet Police Chief Mike Trafton said he has no plans to ask for a gun safe at the school. And our informal poll of Southland police chiefs found little support for Konopek’s proposal.

At the risk of a larger debate about guns, let us note that adding more guns to the mix of America’s arms-race culture has not made us safer. We kill each other with guns regularly, and 350 million registered firearms (an average of one for every citizen) have not solved the problem. And we blanch when we think of how many unregistered guns are out there.

We don’t see much sense in storing a high-powered rifle in a school office safe — any more than requiring teachers to take sniper training or holding counterinsurgency classes for janitors.

Every reason to store a semi-automatic rifle at a school has a counterbalancing you-are-wacky argument.

This one is easy. Schools are sanctuaries meant to nurture, not armed bivouacs. Leave the artillery outside.



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