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Bearing arms


Credit: Shannon Cornman

But that wasn’t all. Miles Hall, owner of H&H Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, said public demand for firearms, ammunition and gun safes came quickly following the news. The rush to buy guns was partly provoked by comments from President Barack Obama, who hinted at renewed guncontrol policies at a Dec. 16 prayer vigil in Newtown.

Although the president didn’t use the words “gun control” — or even “guns,” for that matter — the tone of his speech was enough for many Oklahomans to make H&H their first stop the following Monday.

“Mainly, people were looking for safes to store their weapons,” Hall said.

On Tuesday, Dec. 18, gun and ammo purchases hit an all-time high for the store, followed by an even greater number of sales the following day.

“It was off the hook,” Hall said of the brisk firearm sales. “On Tuesday, we sold as many guns as we would in an entire month. On Wednesday, we doubled that. On Tuesday, customers were waiting outside two hours before we opened, and this wasn’t a Christmas thing. People have the attitude ‘I want it now before I can’t [buy] it.”

‘Evil, sick guy’
From Hall’s perspective, there should be no gun control debate.

“Guns are not the problem,” he said. “This was an evil, sick guy who did this [school shooting]. He went to one of the places where nobody could fight back. Bad guys don’t follow the rules. The only thing these rules do is restrict law-abiding people.”

Oklahoma state Rep. Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa, said he wants to take action that will help stop the carnage. He intends to introduce legislation that would allow public school administrators and teachers to carry guns at school after completing firearms training through the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET).

Hall said he supports the idea.

Miles Hall
Credit: Shannon Cornman

He noted that no-gun zones, such as schools, are victim-rich environments, especially when security personnel are not on site.

“Guns in school at first blush brings an ‘oh no’ reaction,” Hall said. “But I want to put up a defense instead of no defense. All this does is provide a balance, and the bad guys go someplace else. These bad people know where to go and they’re evil-smart. If they know there will be a defense or resistance, they’ll go someplace else. They don’t want to get hurt.”

Legislative opposition
But McCullough’s measure is certain to draw opposition in the Legislature, even for a state as staunchly supportive of gun owners’ rights as Oklahoma.

Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said there are numerous problems with the would-be proposal.

“For one thing, federal law prohibits firearms in schools, unless carried by law enforcement,” he said. “I do not think the idea is feasible or wise to deputize each and every school employee and expect them to go through continuous training to deal with extreme situations, especially when their primary duty is to educate young Oklahomans.”

Instead, Dorman said he will draft legislation that would let school districts use local funds to hire security personnel.

“Basically, we are giving communities the option to increase the safety of school districts, without the involvement of the state, should they decide they would like to have a resource officer in each building,” he said.

Dorman said current bonding laws do not allow for the use of funds to hire personnel.

“Schools are already struggling to make ends meet, so the last thing we want to do is to add one more mandate on to their list with existing budgets,” he said. “I know new taxes are not popular, but this would allow the local control of each school district to decide if this is an expense that is worthwhile.”

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