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'School Gun-Free Zones Paint Big Targets'

With a bullet found at West Middle and in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, an area firearms instructor says it's time those licensed to concealed and carry that work at schools to have guns available.

Friday's prompted many discussions this weekend regarding whether school staffs now should be allowed to carry a concealed weapon (CCW).

Hazelwood parents may feel even more anxous as a bullet was found at Hazelwood West Middle School on Monday. Administration says it is actively investigating the incident.

Greg and Loni Pugh teach firearms handling and safety every day from their privately owned and operated business called St. Louis CCW.

Guns Need to be in Schools.

"I believe we saw the answer on Friday," Greg said. "They give people who are intent to do harm a government guarantee that they will be the only ones with a gun in our schools.

"Then government officials pretend to be surprised when things like this happen."

Greg, who has taught firearms classes for the past 30 years, including to law enforcement officers and highway troopers, said he spent 14 years lobbying about CCW in Jefferson City.

He said lack of security in public and private schools was one of the reasons he and his wife chose to home-school their children until they reach high school age.

"My opinion is that teachers are put in charge of helpless kids, but they are given no means to really do that when something like an intruder shooting happens," Loni said. "Not every person should carry (CCW), but if a teacher chooses to take on that responsibility and takes it to heart, those who are willing and certified, should be allowed to defend themselves and the children."

Loni, who frequently works with women at their facility regarding how to get comfortable with CCW and how to stand with a gun, said it always made her nervous to get automatically buzzed in to schools.

"It just seems like school staffs can't see who is coming in, and that there is no security there," she said. "No one even asks why you are there.

"School safety includes dealing with so many variables."

The Hazelwood School District has a security officer in front lobby of Hazelwood West High School and visitors are required to hand the officer identification which is scanned and a badge made.

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Research Behind the Pughs' Approach

Greg said last April he studied with Dave Grossman, an American author who has specialized in the study of the psychology of killing—which has been termed 'killology'.

The Mascoutah, IL, resident is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. According to Grossman's biography, he is a member of the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security as well as the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute. He speaks internationally about human aggression and the roots of violence and violent crime.

"Grossman said many eye-opening things," said Greg, who attended the same class as St. Louis County Police Department officers.

Grossman, as Greg recalls, said there are two steps that every school should take: have a single point of entry, and give teachers dead-bolt doors that can be locked from the inside of classrooms.

"He said every teacher who props a school door open for any reason should automatically be fired," Greg said. "It's a proven fact, those who go into lock-down mode in classrooms and stay there, are not as likely to get shot."

Greg said the problem is that U.S. culture has taught us guns are bad, which is only partially true.

"Guns are only as bad as the bad people who have them," he said.

Moving Forward with School Safety

Under CCW in Missouri, qualified people are allowed to have guns in their vehicles. Greg said he knew of one case during which a school principal with a CCW license ran to his vehicle to get his gun and eventually shut down a situation that was about to result in children getting killed from an intruder.

"It's such common sense to allow qualified and licensed gun users to have them in places such as schools and hospitals," Greg said. "We are trusting people with our children and with our lives for medical needs, but won't trust them in this other area; it doesn't make real sense."

Ashley December 18, 2012 at 04:41 PM
I don't think that's the case. People go and shoot at all sorts of places. A lot of these school shootings have had to do with kids being bullied. So they didn't randomly choose the school because they knew there were no guns, they chose it because that's where they felt resentment. Please know me saying this does not mean I think it's ok.
Art Flores December 18, 2012 at 07:05 PM
May the Lord give us strength and wisdom to deal with our grief. My condolences to all the parents who lost their loved ones on Newtown and all the other cities who have encountered tragedies in their families. I think that everyone that is in favor of School officials to carry conceal weapons to schools are reacting without thinking what would happenned if one of those school officials goes violent inside the school, how are we going to be able to sleep at night knowing that we allowed such person to carry guns to school. The only thing we are doing here is putting more firewood to the fire. I understand the serious of this issue, I have 7 grown up children and I never stopped worrying for their safety, I just pray that the Lord keep them safe. There is a better solution out there, we just have to ask the Lord to guide us towards the proper solution. God Bless .
Shripathi Kamath December 26, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Yes, because it is common sense that when more people are carrying guns, only bad people get killed

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