By Lo Whittington, Iowa City
Less than 48 hours after a presentation to the school board of the Iowa City Community School District from concerned citizens on the subject of preventing gun violence in our schools, parents received a notice from the ICCSD of a nationwide gun violence threat to schools promoted on social media as “National Gun Shooting Day.”
Let me reiterate what was said at that presentation on Tuesday: “The U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center recommends the importance of appropriate storage of weapons because many school attackers used firearms acquired from their homes.”
Another direct quote: “Up to 80 percent of shooters under the age of 18 obtained their guns from their own home, a relative’s home, or from friends.”
For those who insist that guns must be unlocked and readily available for home defense, the numbers on this are weak. A study by Preventive Medicine showed guns used in a home defense were used in only 1 percent of crimes surveyed between 2007 and 2011. The math on the advantages of unlocked guns does not add up.
The threat of gun violence is harming all of us — our children, those who protect them and many who find themselves helplessly accepting gun violence as the “new normal.” When adults securely store weapons from minors the threat level is significantly reduced.
As a retired school teacher I sat through active shooter lockdowns and wondered, if shots rang out, how could I throw myself over as many students as possible. I would bet some of my students wondered the same thing. There should be nothing “normal” about gun violence that makes this part of a school day. There should be nothing “normal” about a national threat of such violence.
Please urge the school board to act on the proposal made this week to implement a BeSMART Safe Schools Resolution: Inform all parents and guardians of these dangers and ask them to keep firearms locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition. For the safety of our children, for the safety of our community common sense demands it. Gun violence is not normal.