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Debates Begin Again After First-Graders Get Ahold Of School's 'Safety Gun'

Amy Pilkington 18 Aug 2019

Whenever there is a mass shooting, debates about gun control and how to stop the next attack raise in pitch again. This is especially true when the shooting occurs at a school.

Many people, including President Trump, are in favor of arming teachers and staff, believing that lives would be saved if those in danger didn't have to wait for help to arrive.

But opponents to the idea argue that more guns aren't the answer and that teachers don't have the experience and training required.

An incident at Highland Elementary School in Sparta, Ohio is now adding fuel to that argument, after it was revealed that two first-graders were able to access one of the guns meant to be used to protect them.

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The incident actually happened in March, but wasn't made public until now.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, the local sheriff wasn't even informed that the incident had occurred.

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It took place at the district’s transportation office, which is a few doors away from the elementary school.

Unsplash | Element5 Digital

Transportation director Vicky Nelson, is a member of the school's concealed carry program and keeps a gun in her office in case of emergency.

On that day in March, she had her first-grader grandson and the child of the assistant transportation director in her office.

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Her gun was in an unlocked case near her desk when she needed to leave the kids alone for a minute while she used the restroom.

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When she returned, the gun was sitting on her desk.

The only explanation could have been that the children removed it from the case to look at it before either losing interest or pretending to when they heard her returning.

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Superintendent Dan Freund said that he didn't question the children because he didn't want to traumatize them.

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He also didn't report the incident to Morrow County Sheriff John L. Hinton. Hinton learned about it recently through an angry resident's Facebook post and says he would have investigated it at the time.

Nelson was removed from the concealed carry program and suspended without pay for three days.

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The firearms trainer that instructed Nelson and other school teachers and administrators said that she was not following safety regulations.

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That only reminds us that these people are regular citizens and prone to mistakes that lifetime soldiers or experienced police officers may not.

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Freund still thinks that the remaining concealed carry members should keep their guns.

Unsplash | Feliphe Schiarolli

He explained that his school district is 20 minutes away from any critical medical response services. If an assailant with a high-powered assault rifle came into the school, 20 minutes could be devastating.

"Is it worth the risk to carry and prevent that?" he asked.

h/t: The Columbus Dispatch

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