This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
In 1974, three Palestinian gunmen attacked a school in Israel and killed 16 teenagers. Since then, Israeli schoolteachers have been allowed to carry guns.
Utah school personnel have had the right, beginning in January 2001, with concealed weapon permits, to carry firearms in schools and universities. There have been no injuries to students injured in either Israel or Utah since teachers were allowed to have firearms. There was a terrorist attack on an Israeli school in 2002, but it was quickly stopped with the help of an armed teacher.
In contrast to Israel and Utah, in most other states, including Connecticut, most schools are designated as "gun-free" zones where innocent occupants are deprived of any reasonable means of self-defense.
The United States Post Office adopted the gun-free-zone concept some 30 years ago to protect its employees. Unfortunately, rather than protect, its weapon ban simply increased the casualties by depriving all the intended victims of a means of self-defense. The number of casualties during these shootings was dramatic and the term "going postal" emerged.
Unfortunately, many policy makers have not learned that gun-free zones not only increase the number of casualties, they seem to attract mentally deranged mass shooters.
After the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting, one investigator found that the only theater for miles around that had a "No Weapons" sign was the one in which the mass shooter chose to wreak havoc.
Every time we have horrendous casualties in gun-free zones, clueless politicians cry out for additional laws that only have the effect of disarming those who voluntarily obey laws, the innocent. These laws have no major effect on the deranged souls who commit these atrocities other than providing a deadly enclosure entrapping defenseless victims.
Connecticut's deranged mass killer had firearms he stole them from his mother, whom he also murdered. No new gun control law, added to the already 20,000 state and federal gun control laws, will stop such persons. Like the Columbine shooters, he violated at least 20 laws before and during the carnage. After all, murder and attempted murder are both illegal, having a gun in a school zone without a concealed weapons permit is illegal, stealing firearms is illegal, etc.
Our schools all have fire extinguishers. They are the correct equipment in the event of a deadly fire. The Israelis have learned that allowing their teachers and school administrators to be armed is the correct equipment to deter and stop school shootings.
It's time to stop disarming the innocent like many policy makers have done for the past 30 years expecting different results.
Utah's schools, like Israel's, are much safer because of the present policy of allowing school officials with concealed weapon permits to arm themselves.
But more school principals and administrators need to be trained with the right equipment. There are numerous firearms training facilities locally and in the region that are willing to train school personnel for free upon the asking. Do it now!
Mitch Vilos is an attorney whose law practice focuses on cases involving weapons. He is also a co-author of the books Self-Defense Laws of All 50 States and Utah Gun Law, 4th ed. Curt Oda is an insurance executive and long-time member of the Utah House of Representatives. Both are concealed weapon instructors.