The role of firearms was conspicuously absent in the all-day session on school safety organized yesterday by the White House, says the Los Angeles Times. President Bush, joined by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, called on parents and communities to take responsibility for ensuring school safety, saying that there are limits to what the government can do. Measures such as installing metal detectors in schools were viewed with skepticism. Gonzales said metal detectors may not be appropriate, noting that not all school shootings occur inside the buildings.
“I’m disappointed that today’s White House conference on school violence did not focus on the too-easy access to guns in our society,” said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “Two years ago, President Bush abandoned his campaign pledge to reauthorize the federal assault weapons ban,” Helmke said. “Yesterday, a 13-year-old Missouri boy brought an AK-47 clone to school and fired it before being apprehended. The Bush administration’s inaction two years ago has led to even deadlier weapons being available in our communities.” Said White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore: “President Bush believes we should target criminals who break our laws – not law-abiding citizens who follow the law.”