by Max Brantley
When a state regulatory board decided to suspend licenses granted to allow school staff to carry weapons in school on account of legal problems with the certification, the board was told about 60 school employees statewide, including 14 from Clarksville alone, would be affected. Not many when you consider Arkansas has nearly 300 school districts and almost a half-million students.
But where there's not a problem, there's always somebody with a gun who thinks more guns is a solution. Enter Faulkner County Sheriff Andy Shock and Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland. The Log Cabin Democrat reports that they've been out lobbying the Mount Vernon-Enola School Board about a plan to put school administrators through the 110-hour law enforcement officer training program. Then, as certified law officers like other reserve deputies, they could carry guns in school. Shock proposes only to arm administrators. Questions about uniforms, open carry and other details are yet to be worked out as a "conversation" begins with the school board. Said Shock:
“It’s a controversial issue, and I’ve taken some heat over it, which I’m willing to do, because I feel it’s the right thing to do.”
Yes indeed. It takes a really brave politician to advocate more guns in Arkansas. And in this same not-serious vein: Surely, given all the praying that's encouraged by visiting evangelists in the Conway School District, they have less need of the sheriff's offer of additional security.
Just to show you how controversial this is, Republican attorney general candidate Leslie Rutledge is already out with a statement praising the sheriff.
Local law enforcement working closely with local government to solve a local problem is the right approach to Arkansas’s school safety issue. A local solution tailored to each community’s unique situation is always better than a one size never fits all big government approach.”
Her news release identifies neither the "problem" nor the "big government approach" that figures into the discussion of more guns in Mount Vernon-Enola.