After a day like today, many of us are still trying to process the unthinkable tragedy in a Connecticut elementary school. As a parent, I’m horrified and extremely grateful to be able to tuck my kids into their beds tonight, thinking about those who won’t have that pleasure.

And I’m angry. Angry, mostly because these events keep happening and nothing is ever done. After Virginia Tech and again after Tucson, we had brief national conversations about mental illness and guns, but nothing happened. More recent incidents haven’t even led to a conversation. The NRA and gun advocates have become so good – and why wouldn’t they with so many events around which to practice? – at ritually shaming anyone in the public realm who would dare speak about our violent gun culture in the wake of a tragedy and (gasp) politicize it! How many calls were there for Bob Costas to be fired for suggesting guns might be a problem?

We need that to stop. Republicans should know that just like it’s OK to say no to Grover Norquist, sometimes you can say no to the NRA.

And we can start that conversation in Ohio.

State Representative Bill Patmon has an idea we can talk about right now – even before details of today’s shooting are clear. It doesn’t matter what type of gun was used, where it was obtained or what mental state the shooter was in. Patmon’s Bill, HB 519, simply says that Ohio schools can use Homeland Security funds to install metal detectors. Simple. We use them in airports, why not schools? It’s worth a conversation, but the bill has only had a single hearing, without an opportunity for public testimony or a vote.

In the wake of Newtown, Governor Kasich should call a special session of the legislature and insist that hearings be held on the Patmon bill.

And while he’s at it, Kasich should also veto legislation that passed in Ohio this week that would relax Ohio’s concealed carry laws. It’s the wrong move at the wrong time.

  • I wholeheartedly support a veto of the terrible piece of legislation that would relax concealed carry laws, which are already far too lenient. I’m not sure that metal detectors are the solution for several reasons. You would need well trained security people stationed at each detector, for one thing. Also, I have heard that there are plastic weapons which are not detected. Third, I think this would make schools more frightening and sad. Going through these procedures at airports, public buildings, and political rallies doesn’t reassure me very much, and it certainly increases the feeling that we live in a bizarrely weaponized and disfunctional world. After the Littleton, Colorado shootings, there was exploration of this idea, and I think the schools that chose a more personal, human — and humane — form of interaction with people coming to schools, had a better outcome.

  • John W.

    I agree. We need tougher gun control laws, not metal detectors. I don’t think a metal detector would have stopped the killer in New Town.

  • Red Rover

    Exactly. I heard that he broke a window and came in that way, so metal detectors wouldn’t have done a thing. Turning our schools in to fortresses is not the answer. This bill is more of a giveaway to companies that sell metal detectors than a tangible increase in safety. We do need to challenge our culture and the powers that be on real solutions to crime (to reduce the proliferation of guns in the first place) and gun safety.

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