We all have fantasies of rescue when it comes to a story like Sandy Hook. We all would like to be the one who spotted Adam Lanza as he first lifted his gun at the glass near the school door and, quick-thinking, somehow tripped him up before a single first-grader had to see his face. We would like to be the person in the cartoon who sets up the bad guy’s pratfall. And by all means, if a shooter’s gun jams, if there is a moment, like the one in Tucson, when a woman can snatch the next clip out of his pocket, all of us should be ready to seize the chance. But serendipity and dreams of glory are not policy choices; reducing the number of guns is.
I think that we should be very careful to make policy changes in a post-Newtown world; you’ve already heard from me on that score. But if we seek to arm teachers, I think that we should consider peak threat vs. average threat. If we optimize our system for peak threat, we limit ingress to one or two access points, have an armed guard at each point, and arm all willing teachers. Is that really what we want? Because I worry about the fact that kids—curious, mischievous kids—are suddenly going to have more access to firearms than they ever had before. I think that sizing for a peak threat in this case would create an average threat.
My personal aim would be to review all semi-automatic firearms with high-capacity magazines. I’ve put 25 rounds through a Ruger 10/22 in under eight seconds. It was fun! It’s also impractical as a self-defense mechanism and completely useless in a hunting situation. All of the Bill of Rights come with limits. [And yes, the linked piece is strident and left of my position.]