Conservatives support limited government not because we dislike public services and institutions, but because we know government usually gets things wrong.
The higher the stakes, the messier the screw-ups, and that goes double when government reacts out of fear or anger, and especially for laws passed or rejected in haste.
Prudence. Doubt. Caution. Foresight. Wisdom — these are the qualities that should guide the conservative mind when facing a crisis. And these are the qualities that should guide Alabama’s leaders as they determine if, and how, we should arm our state’s teachers.
Rushing to say ‘yes’ to a bill because we’re worried about what could happen isn’t prudent, but rushing to say ‘no’ to a bill because we’re worried about what could happen isn’t prudent, either.
We have to move deliberately, methodically to get this right and sewn-up tight, because a good idea, if composed shoddily or implemented poorly, could be impractical at best or harmful at worst. And if we hesitate because a few influential individuals or powerful organizations don’t like the basic idea, then we’d have missed the opportunity to make a change for the better.
Right now, our lawmakers are considering two very ambitious bills:
State Rep. Will Ainsworth, R-Guntersville, introduced one that would allow teachers and school administrators to carry firearms once they completed a “basic school policing” training program approved by the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission.
Another bill, offered by State Rep. Allen Farley, R-McCalla, would extend that permission to school staff and even volunteers once they were vetted and trained by local law enforcement. That bill is modeled after a law already on the books in rural Franklin County.
Both bills are promising.
Both bills would give the defenseless a fighting chance.
And both bills deserve to be thoroughly debated in both chambers of our State Legislature until something near a consensus — at least among conservatives — can be reached.
There was a public hearing on the issue this morning in Montgomery where lawmakers heard directly from concerned citizens.
That was a step forward.
Let’s hope our leaders listened, and … very carefully … take the next step.