A sixth-grader in Utah was caught with a 22.-caliber handgun at his school yesterday, which he says he brought with him for self-defense in case of an incident like the Newtown school shooting.
Kids being kids, he was already waving the gun around by recess, allegedly threatening some of his classmates with it. For some reason his classmates waited until almost the end of the school day to report it, at which point police were immediately called to the school where they discovered the unloaded .22 along with ammunition in the kid’s backpack.
The boy told police his parents sent him to school with the gun for protection, which the parents “adamantly deny” according to the AP. Apparently the gun had been left at the boy’s home by a relative.
In the wake of Newtown and Liza Long’s viral article “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” a line of thinking has emerged that “guns aren’t the problem—mental illness is the problem.” In fact many in this camp think more guns is the answer to the mental health threat—Virginia governor Bob McDonnell advocated arming teachers with firearms after Newtown.
But there are a couple problems with this idea—first, The Daily Beast ran a compelling piece last night showing that the UK and America have similar per-capita rates of mental illness and we have 100 times the gun murder rate. You can’t attribute our gun murder problem to mental illness alone—we just don’t have enough mentally ill for the math to make sense. And second—when you have more guns in society at large, more guns tend to end up in the wrong places—like in the hands of this 11 year-old in Utah, where it is almost 100% guaranteed to do more harm than good.
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