Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) blasted National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s plan to put armed guards in school, worrying that it would lead to “an Orwellian police state in America.” Paul, a libertarian most famous for his numerous presidential runs, connected the NRA proposal to onerous TSA regulations in statement on his official website:
Furthermore, do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches? We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders. This is the world of government provided “security,” a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse. School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.
While Paul’s right to highlight the troubling implications of the NRA proposal in terms of expanding police presence and power, the armed guards plan also wouldn’t work as a practical matter. Schools with armed guards have been the victims of several mass shootings. There probably aren’t enough adequately trained police officers to do the job. And more guns in schools could very well make the problem worse.
Unfortunately, Paul also repeated several myths about guns in an attempt to equate calls for regulation of gun ownership with the NRA’s lunacy. His suggestion that “more guns equals less crime” is belied by the most recent research; the reverse is most likely true. Likewise, Paul’s claim that “private gun ownership prevents many shootings” is not supported by any real research. And the idea that gun control can’t work because “criminals don’t obey laws” misunderstands the several policy proposals on the table that would almost certainly save lives.
Paul appears to simply oppose any action to address gun murders, saying somewhat bizarrely that “our federal government has zero moral authority to legislate against violence.” His conclusion is the same as that of the editors of National Review: mass murder is the price of freedom.