Forget arming the teachers; why not just arm the kids?
The South Dakota Legislature seems to think any child of any age may be responsible enough to carry a firearm and hunt. On Monday, the House passed Senate Bill 137, which strikes the minimum age for hunting. Current statute says kids have to be at least ten years old to hunt. SB 137 lets parents decide when Junior is old enough to carry a gun in the field:
House members voted 44-20 to send SB 137 for the governor’s review. The Senate approved it 30-4 Feb. 4. Sen. Jason Frerichs, D-Wilmot, was prime sponsor. Lead House sponsor was Rep. Herman Otten, R-Lennox.
The minimum age has been 10 for mentored hunting. But 35 states don’t have minimum ages, according to Otten.
Parents could best judge children’s abilities, Otten said [Bob Mercer, “South Dakota House Erases Minimum Age for Hunters,” Rapid City Journal, 2018.03.07].
SB 137 does not change the requirement that hunters under 16 be accompanied by an unarmed but licensed hunting mentor (parent, guardian, or other competent adult with a note from the child’s parent or guardian).
I suppose this new no-minimum-age policy can police itself. Dads and moms (and we may need to lean heavily on moms, since they seem to be the partners evolutionarily inclined to keep the children alive) will decide whether to arm their children in pursuit of the wily pheasant, and other hunters will decide whether they want to go out in the field with their buddies’ armed five year olds.
But SB 137 does get me wondering about other situations where we might arm our children. Statute already allows over half of the K-12 school-age population to carry firearms and shoot at critters. If parents think their children can responsibly wield firearms in a hunting party, what’s to stop us from extending that parental consent to authorize junior school sentinels? One armed school resource officer didn’t deter the school shooting in Florida; a few armed teachers may not do the job, either. But arm the kids and guarantee the shooters a firefight in every classroom, and the problem is solved, right?