There are a couple of issues that go into the overall justification for allowing concealed carry on school grounds. At its core is a philosophical outlook which looks at the inherent right of self defense guaranteed in both the Federal and Washington State Constitutions as the point of origin for policy. As the 9th Circuit Court just affirmed, every American has the right to carry a firearm in self defense. That right does not end where the property lines of a school begin. Therefore, the question is not whether people should be allowed to carry a firearm on school grounds, rather, what method of carry should we deem most appropriate for a school setting?
Our policy position is that concealed carry is the preferred method for non-law enforcement persons within an active school setting. Some arguments that support this position have to do with the comfort level of both students and other adults at the visible presence of firearms - that having teachers or administrators wear a visible sidearm would create the appearance and feel of a correctional facility. While we do not consider those arguments to be wholly unfounded or invalid, they are not the basis of our position. The primary factors in advocating concealed carry are DETERRENCE and UNPREDICTABILITY.
The "Gun-Free Zone" has been one of the worst policy positions ever conceived. It is synonymous with "Resistance-Free Zone" or "Defenseless-Persons Zone." Contrary to the intentions of the originators of this slogan, the only message that has ever been communicated with this signage is that the people inside are incapable of defending themselves. A would-be criminal knows with absolute certainty that upon entering any one of these buildings s/he will meet no meaningful resistance to their nefarious intentions. This disastrous ideology is immediately reversed with the introduction of concealed carry. In an instant, the equation changes from one of absolute certainty to one of unpredictable probability. A room of 10 people that the criminal knows is not armed becomes a room of 10 possibly armed people. Such a possibility has been shown to cause criminals to choose to not attack that target. That is called deterrence.
Does deterrence always work? No, there will always be those that, whether due to mental instability or evil in their hearts, will attempt to commit these atrocities no matter what we do. That is why I liken our policy to the reasoning behind fire extinguishers. They are there in case a fire breaks out. It's not the only thing we rely on to fight the fire; we still have sprinklers, fire drills, and even the Fire Department! But we also recognize the good of being able, once a fire begins, to possibly put out a fire while it is still small - before it consumes the entire building. Does that mean that we don't do everything practicable to prevent the fire from starting in the first place? No, of course not! But we must not believe that we can ever completely eliminate the possibility of the fire starting at all.
Allowing those individuals who have taken the personal responsibility to obtain and maintain a valid Concealed Pistol License to legally be in possession of their firearm while on school grounds will provide an extra level of protection to our children and school staff. It will enable thousands of parents, relatives, and workers the ability to choose a more secure daily life, and not require individuals to forfeit the inherent right of self defense while on school property.
It’s about Secure Schools and Choice for Washington!