Utah lawmakers ready to look at ways to prevent another school tragedy

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  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 5:00 p.m.

    I agree with Prepresentative Oda. It makes sense to take care of the main issue...mental health. I would like to know why so many mental health programs have been eliminated and closed. If that boy had received the help his Mother was trying to register him for there would not have been a massacre at this Elementary school. Mental health has to come first.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Dec. 18, 2012 7:26 p.m.

    DN: This is what Lost in DC wrote
    "want to stop killings and needless death?
    ban obesity
    ban abortion
    ban tobacco
    ban alcohol
    institutionalize the insane"

    This is what I wrote:
    want to stop killings and needless death?
    ban obesity (I agree)

    ban abortion (agree to the extent that we hold both parties accountable for an unwanted child)

    ban tobacco(agree, but would not work)

    ban alcohol (Tried it; it didn't work. Same would go for tobacco.)

    institutionalize the insane; (define insane.; Those with treatable mental illness, or anyone with a diagnosable mental illness?)

    There is absolutely nothing that I wrote that is any more or less offensive that what Lost wrote, yet you allow Lost's post and not mine.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Dec. 18, 2012 5:11 p.m.

    There is no way to dispute the fact that none of us are as safe as we should be. But we need to make sure that we act and not simply react. Shariah law, if I understand it sufficiently say that if you steal, we cut of your hand. This is a case where the root of the problem is not being addressed.

    A high percentage of shootings are carried out by mentally disturbed individuals. This needs to be addressed.

    We also need to be able to profile. If a guy is walking towards an elementary school dressed in black, with some sort of battle gear in place -- we should be able to call him out without being labeled as racist or bigots.

  • Hawk89 Buda, , TX
    Dec. 18, 2012 3:33 p.m.

    We should allow Concealed Carry and arm Teacher, Staff and parents that want to defend their children. Get ride on the Gun Free Zone. Every mass shoot knows he has unarmed victims that why these almost always happen in Gun Free Zone. Guns aren't the problem, Gun Free Zone are!

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 2:22 p.m.

    Look at what happens when you allow the public to be armed. This was an off duty police officer doing security. However, if the anti-gun people had their way, she would not have been armed while off duty. See "Man Attempts to Open Fire on Crowd at Movie Theater, Armed Off-Duty Sergeant Drops Him" at The Blaze.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 11:43 a.m.

    The Utah legislators sound like they are on the right track and are concerned with the mental health of the people that commit these mass murders. The only problem is that it is impossible to legislate common sense. Yes they can create the laws that common sense should dictate, but what good will it do? They can mandate that a house where a mentaly unstable person lives have a gunsafe that only 1 or 2 stable people can access, but how do you enforce it?

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 9:55 a.m.

    the recent mass killings were not committed by sane and rational people. Address the insane, not the tools they happen to use.

    want to stop killings and needless death?
    ban obesity
    ban abortion
    ban tobacco
    ban alcohol
    institutionalize the insane

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 9:26 a.m.

    Joe and others here who advocate armed teachers, may I comment.

    I'm a former teacher. I also spent some time in law enforcement at both local and Federal levels. I used to wear a gun to work every day. Perhaps I actually have some experience that pertains here.

    Have you personally ever been in a very dangerous, fast moving situation, where there are hundreds of events seeming to happen all at the same time? If you have, then you might begin to understand the self control required to react effectively.

    Now consider a classroom teacher. Responsible for the safety of 20 to 30 screaming, panicked children. A teacher who has had some -- probably minimal -- training in defensive tactics, but no real experience. A teacher who, may or may not, be an expert shot with a handgun. (Handgun accuracy is much less than a long weapon.)

    The brutal truth is that anyone in those circumstances, armed but possessing only the training required for a CCP, would probably be about as effective as a flyswatter. And very likely only one more danger to the students.

    That holds equally true for armed citizens in malls or theaters.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 9:11 a.m.

    I tried to provide a compliment to Midwest Mom for her excellent and thoughtful comments.

    But it was denied by DN's censors because I also urged readers to look up Val Bagley's cartoon in yesterday's Tribune. I apologize for that.

  • Joe Moe Logan, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 8:12 a.m.

    @Midwest Mom. While I am personally unsettled on the idea of having select staff with weapons, your basic assertions are faulty. These things don't usually play out in a matter of seconds, but rather minutes. How long did it take for the Colombine tragedy to unfold? Sandy Hook was faster, but still it was measure in minutes. There is usually plenty of time for a staff member to retrieve a weapon in a locked closet or desk. How many staff at Sandy Hook had time to hide in a room, closet, office, etc.? Most. The principal herself may have been just as able to temporarily retreat and arm herself as try to rush the attacker empty handed, if she had some recourse.

    Again, there are serious issues no matter how we address this, but we have think clearly about the realities of how these attacks unfold if we are going to make informed policies.

  • Joe Moe Logan, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 8:04 a.m.

    The merits of all arguments aside, as related to gun control, I think it's kind of funny how a lot of people keep talking about the NRA as if it were a robot or something, and "we the people" have to be strong enough to take "it" on. Just a friendly reminder: the "NRA" is millions of "CITIZENS," uniting their voice behind a cause they agree on. It's part of democracy. Agree or disagree, but don't make an acronym out to be a boogeyman. Talk to the citizens.

    Also, while I am not a member and haven't followed the NRA closely, if I recall correctly many members of NRA, and the NRA leaders themselves, have been open to dialog on particulars like assault weapons control, gun registration, and keeping arms away from the mentally ill. It's not like you can't have a conversation with these people -- these citizens.

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    Dec. 18, 2012 7:08 a.m.

    Don't you remember the 6 year old in Brigham City who got his Sheriff Deputy Dad's .44 Magnum pistol and tried to kill the neighbor kids? Stupidity is everywhere just as is overreaction to tragedy.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 12:10 a.m.

    Midwest Mom,
    We can't and shouldn't ban all possible weapons. Chain saws, butcher knives, axes, etc. Even if you could, that wouldn't stop someone. The person shot open the school. We need to be more careful and caring with people. When that fails we need someone to protect people. That is why there are guns. Not everyone will or should have a gun. We shouldn't ban the ability to protect.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Dec. 17, 2012 11:05 p.m.

    How would a gun in a safe have helped the principal that was killed? She was coming out of a meeting. Guns in the classroom? Unless it's loaded and in a holster, how can a teacher grab it in the seconds it takes to fire off multiple rounds from a semi-automatic weapon? If kept on the teacher's person, how can small hands be kept from grabbing at the gun? Teachers aren't even allowed to touch students. Hugs are now verboten as is taking a student by the hand and dragging them down to the principal's office. At Columbine, the perpetrators were also students. At what point do you want the staff to point and shoot at your child? As for homeschool being the answer, what about when they go to college and get jobs, or will children be kept at home, swaddled in bubblewrap forever?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 10:32 p.m.

    Someone, somewhere, at the risk of their political career, is going to have to say no to the NRA. It's insane that the best we can do is ask an elementary school teacher, or principal, or custodian to be ready, equipped and capable of killing someone as part of their job. Isn't there something wrong with that? We have a chance to claim sanity back by asking how we got here instead of escalating the arms race.

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 10:20 p.m.

    There have been too many killings by mentally disturbed individuals (the LDS Church Library and Triad Center for Utah examples) roughly half of all the mass killings in recent memory, so that must be a priority.

    We need to be more aggressive in identifying and treating (if possible) or institutionalizing the mentally ill who pose a threat of violent actions, and at a much lower threshold than the law requires now. Keeping dangerous people off the streets must be a priority, despite any complaints about "patients' rights." Easier involuntary commitment procedures will also get them into the database to prohibit gun purchases anywhere in the country.

    "Gun free zones" attract criminals and crazies who want to commit heinous crimes, so the first thing to do is to eliminate areas where law abiding, background checked citizens are forced to be disarmed targets.

    CDC studies showed that NONE of the various gun control schemes adopted have ever significantly reduced crime, so let's not waste time repeating failed ideas. Instead, let's try to control the criminals and mentally disturbed people who commit these acts.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 10:21 p.m.

    Solution: Home-school

    It's either that or a dozen officers in each school. I'm not against either but if I thought one produced a more positive environment for children its pretty obvious what the best way is to prevent these tragedies.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 9:37 p.m.

    Utah has good gun laws.

    Utah Constitution Article I, Section 6. [Right to bear arms.]
    The individual right of the people to keep and bear arms for security and defense of self, family, others, property, or the state, as well as for other lawful purposes shall not be infringed; but nothing herein shall prevent the Legislature from defining the lawful use of arms.

    The Legislature has limited it so there is no "open carry" inside the property of a K-12 public school, so to carry a gun on to a K-12 you need a concealed carry permit. The permit allows an individual to carry a firearm into public schools.

    There is no reason the principal, custodians, or teachers can't obtain a concealed carry permit and carry a gun to protect themselves or their students.

    Open carry is allowed on college campuses, so if someone starts shooting, they could be shot immediately. Open carry doesn't allow a bullet in the chamber. If you want to carry a loaded gun with a bullet in the chamber, you need a concealed carry permit.

  • sally Kearns, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 9:19 p.m.

    The custodians seem to be more aware of what is going on in the schools, so maybe you should allow them to be armed. It also would be good if the principal is trained with an available gun locked in a safe, plus a bulletproof vest. The teachers should also have the option to carry a gun or at least have mace on hand. More laws and restrictions are not needed. It is my constitutional right to own a gun and protect myself. Our legislators need to find something else to spend their time on. It is impossible to protect everyone all the time.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Dec. 17, 2012 9:16 p.m.

    "Good policy" hasn't been made without emotion. Perhaps with the deaths of these small children and brave teachers hot on our consciences, we can finally muster the courage to define what a "well regulated militia" looks like.