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In Minnesota, Guns In Schools May Be Legal. For Now.

Minnesota is both a solidly blue state and a land of political correctness, so it is surprising to learn that guns aren’t necessarily prohibited in the state’s schools. The Minneapolis Star Tribune headlines: “Little-known Minnesota exemption allows guns in schools.”

For years, Greg Lund carried a loaded gun as a high school principal in northwestern Minnesota. Students, parents and most of the staff at Norman County East High School didn’t know he was armed, but Lund said he couldn’t leave his students’ safety to chance.

“There’s little you can do to prevent them from getting in the building,” said Lund, a gun safety educator. “It was a small, rural school, and it would be 20 minutes or more before we would have police in the building.”

Lund carried the gun with the permission of his superintendent — and under the provisions of a little-known exemption to the state’s general ban on guns in school. The rule says that any adults who have a state permit to carry a gun can bring the firearm to school once they obtain written permission from a principal or other school authority.

Given what happened at Sandy Hook elementary, one might think that Minnesotans would applaud the foresight manifested by that exemption, and consider whether it should be more broadly implemented. But no:

Brenda Cassellius, the state education commissioner, “feels very strongly that we should be keeping guns out of schools,” said spokeswoman Charlene Briner. Gov. Mark Dayton agreed, and he will look at tightening the state ban on guns in schools when the Legislature convenes in January, said his spokeswoman, Katharine Tinucci.

I think everyone would agree that our first choice is “keeping guns out of schools.” The problem is that people come and go from schools all the time. It simply isn’t possible to ensure that all of them are unarmed, and none of them are crazy. That being the case, it seems rather pathetic to take comfort in the fact that guns are “banned” from schools. Murderers don’t obey signs. But practicality–actually improving safety, as opposed to feeling self-righteous–is not much in evidence:

“I cannot even imagine a situation where we would consider giving people permission to carry guns in school,” Richfield Schools Superintendent Robert Slotterback said. “You’re not going to have a gun drawn. If they walk up to you, point a gun and fire, it doesn’t matter if you have a gun in your pocket or not.”

So self-defense is impossible, apparently. This really is the mentality that we are dealing with in trying to improve school safety. Unfortunately, now that Minnesota’s governor and legislators are aware of the provision that creates at least the possibility of protecting students from armed predators, it likely will be repealed.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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