HOUSTON, TX – Less than a week following the deadly shootings in Connecticut and the call for gun control has sounded across the country. And while the role guns play in violent attacks has been a point-of-contention for years, keeping them out of the hands of would-be attackers has not.
In 2000, the Houston police department instituted a buy-back program, offering citizens vouchers in exchange for unused firearms. And while it was successful in taking hundreds of guns off Houston streets, former police chief C.O. Bradford, who led the program, will tell you, when it comes to the types of violence we’ve seen lately, buy-backs and other similar measures aren’t enough.
“I don’t think that reduces gun violence; it provides an opportunity for those who have guns that want to get rid of them, to get rid of those guns in a safe manner.”
He’s proposed another city-buy-back in the wake of the Connecticut shootings and hopes to meet with city council and HPD to make it a reality. But he says protecting our schools first and foremost is paramount.
“I think we’re at that point where we need to have armed police officers at our schools – at all of our schools.”
But there’s a problem. Take the Houston Independent School District, for example. HISD has more than three-hundred-campuses across the city and only 200 officers. Having an officer on each campus would require hiring more HISD personnel, or taking Houston police off the street.
“Not that what happened in Connecticut can be prevented,’ Bradford said, ‘but we can minimize the amount of damage, the number of lives that are lost, if in fact there is a police officer there who is trained to intervene.”
Whatever the cost, it may be something worth doing.