In the wake of the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, pundits and politicians have proposed dozens of ideas to prevent the next school shooting that range from banning semi-automatic weapons to arming teachers. When elected to Congress in the fall, I will put forward a bill with an America First answer to this problem.
Schools have become soft targets for individuals suffering from specific mental disorders; this unfortunate situation has become our new normal. However, that doesn’t mean we have to ban guns or arm teachers to combat this issue. As the nation saw from the school shooting on Tuesday at Great Mills High School in Maryland, the best way to defend students from mass shootings is to have armed guards on school property.
The America First position is for our federal government to pay unemployed or retired military and police officers to arm our schools, tackling two issues at once: Creating jobs for veterans and retired police while keeping our schools safe.
As of 2014, according to The National Center for Educational Statistics, there are 131,890 public and private elementary and secondary schools in the U.S., all of which need some form of armed security given our current state of affairs.
If the federal government were to hire one to two armed guards per school, approximately 250,000 in total, it would cost taxpayers an estimated $10 to $12 billion annually.
By redirecting funds already misused overseas, we could ensure safety for America’s children without adding to our national deficit or disarming law-abiding citizens. A report from 2017 by John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, found that the federal government is spending millions of dollars a year paying for the salaries of Afghanistan soldiers that don’t even exist. According to Sopko, the U.S. pays the wages of about 320,000 Afghan police and soldiers, but only 120,000 actually exist.
Americans are paying for Afghan soldiers that don’t exist while our children are vulnerable; this is unconscionable.
Another area where the federal government could redirect funds from is United State Agency for International Developments which will spend $15 million by 2019 to train cashiers for Walmart in Mexico, Kenya, India, and Spain, another $21 million to purchase motorbikes for Pakistani Dairy Farmers, and $98 million to promote tourism in Jordan.
By redirecting these funds to protect our schools, we will not only ensure the safety of our students but employment opportunities to veterans and retired police.
All school safety employees would need to meet a specific list of standards that include physical and mental well-being, proper training to deal with a school shooter, as well as an honorable discharge. This plan could be one of the most significant job creators for unemployed vets, especially to the 188,000 unemployed who served in Gulf War I and II, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This America First approach will protect our children, redirect wasted federal funds, and neither be a burden on the taxpayer or legal gun owners. It’s a win for all Americans and will be one my first priorities when elected in November.
Christina Hagan has represented District 50 in the Ohio State House since 2011. She’s currently running for Congress in Ohio District 16 and is endorsed by Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. Mark Meadows, Gov. Jan Brewer, Anthony Scaramucci, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Pastor Darrell Scott, and Ohio Value Voters.