School Safety is on everyone's mind, following the violent terrorist attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, in Parkland, FL.
As the mother of a 12 year old child, I worry every single day about gun based violence in schools. I believe in the right to bear arms, and I am a 2nd amendment supporter, however, I also believe that the phrase "well regulated militia" was included for a reason. I think fixing school safety issues will take many layers.
We need to address access to guns of all sorts, through education and holding parents accountable for their children's actions - I believe the best way to do this is to require adults to carry liability insurance on their weapons, the same as we do with our cars. If your child takes your gun because you failed to appropriately secure it, you are liable financially and criminally, and insurance companies are far better at holding people accountable than the criminal justice system ever has been.
I believe that reasonable controls on magazine sizes are necessary - if you are carrying a weapon for self defense, and you need 30-60 rounds, you are doing something wrong. A reasonable limit on magazine sizes would be a start towards limiting the damage criminals could do with weapons.
Mandatory gun safety classes taught at the Junior High level would dramatically improve accidental shootings, and help students learn simple skills like ensuring a safety is on, unloading a found weapon or otherwise protecting themselves from unfamiliar hardware.
Increased funding for school counseling, mental health services for the uninsured and including mental health services as a default in all insurance programs is an excellent path forward to dealing with some of the mental health issues we see centered around school shootings.
I do not believe that arming teachers is the way forward - I haven't met many teachers that are interested, and my year as a teacher's assistant in the classroom taught me that teachers are BUSY! I can't imagine them having the time and attention necessary to conceal carry, or secure a weapon, much less train regularly the way our police and military do. I firmly believe that community policing is the way to go, with police officers in schools, building relationships with kids, getting to know the ones that are struggling.
In an ideal world, every one of these officers would also be combat veterans, with the knowledge and ability to properly face armed shooters with assurance. I would also advocate for these officers to receive special training from school counselors, social workers and therapists, to be able to connect with kids and identify problems early. Adding to the burden of teachers seems like a failing proposition, we should allocate the necessary resources to school security from trained professionals.
Veteran Benefits are incredibly important to me. As the daughter, granddaughter, and cousin of veterans, their well being is always on my mind. After the last year and a half training service dogs for Veterans suffering from PTSD, I've become aware of how the system can fail and leave veterans in need.
I believe in not only funding veteran benefits, but providing oversight and accountability. It is unacceptable that our veterans get shuffled from provider to provider, or made to wait months or years for care they need. This isn't a money problem, the money is available, but the system is not in place to make sure it goes where it's needed, and veterans don't fall through the cracks.
With 22 veterans a day committing suicide, I can't think of any issue I feel more passionately about. We must support and provide for the medical and mental health needs of our returned heroes.