Gun Bans Are No Solution for Real School Safety

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I have three sons, ages 10, 8 and 3. Like all fathers, I worry about them non-stop. I worry about everything.

I worry about the food they eat, the vehicles we drive, things they watch on TV, their education and a vast universe of things that I never dreamed about before having children.

Having a fifth grader and third grader made the shooting in Newtown downright depressing. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families impacted. I can't imagine the pain and frustration they feel when just reading about it makes me angry.

I live in the north woods of Wisconsin, and while guns are prevalent (deer hunting is an excusable absence from school), concern over a shooting incident at my sons' school wasn't a worry until I received an email from the school.

"As a result of the tragedy that occurred this morning in Connecticut, we want to communicate steps we are taking to help ensure the safety of staff and students.

All doors at school will be locked during the school day. Check-in procedures are in place at all schools. For instance, all visitors check in at the main office; photo IDs will be required for visitors who are unknown to staff. If you have questions about security, please talk with your principal. All school functions will continue as scheduled. Our school safety plans have been reviewed. All reasonable precautions are being taken."

My understanding is that the current "plan" to protect my children from great harm is to hope that a nationwide news event never happens here. This "plan" is shared by most schools at all levels, and it falls far short of real protection for the ones we love the most. I will discuss reasonable and effective alternatives to the "hope it never happens plan," but first I want to write about the exploitation of Newtown for political objectives.

I consistently write about the perils of allowing emotion to influence investing decisions. More money is lost by investors as a result of emotion than any other factor I know of. The reason is simple: emotion is a very poor compass by which to guide your decisions.

People who don't like firearms and believe they should only be owned by the government are once again offering up the emotional solution of another "assault weapons" and high-capacity magazine ban. Companies that manufacture modern sporting rifles include Smith & Wesson ( SWHC) and Sturm Ruger ( RGR).

The fact that implementing a ban will not stop the next tragedy doesn't appear to influence those calling for it. Trying to convince the public that bans are the solution is also only a distraction.

A flash suppressor, threaded barrel, collapsible/folding stock, pistol grip, or bayonet lug will not make a rifle any more/less lethal than your run-of-the-mill deer hunting rifle. Banning cosmetic features and the appearance of some firearms because you think it will stop someone from using guns in a criminal act is no different than banning red cars because you think it will slow down traffic accidents. It simply doesn't make sense.

High-capacity magazines are convenient scapegoats, too, but at the end of the day, regulating magazine size doesn't improve the safety of my children either. California may have the most restrictive firearm laws. Magazines can hold no more than 10 rounds and cannot be detached from an AR15 without the use of a tool. American ingenuity should never be discounted. This video demonstrates how quickly magazines are changed. (Spoiler: It only takes a few short seconds to change a magazine). By the end of the video, it's obvious that if the goal is to "slow down" an assailant, magazine limitations are ineffective.

Even if we do try to put the toothpaste back in the tube, and new bans are put in place and they work (they won't, but we can live the fantasy for a moment), it doesn't change the fact that less than 10% of crimes are committed with these types of rifles. Do you really want to get behind a perfect world solution that may stop 10%? Shouldn't protecting the other 90%+ be part of the argument?

Preventing more school shootings is probably impossible, but that doesn't mean we have to give up. What we need to do is protect our children like the valuable assets they are. I don't know of anything more valuable to me than my children, and I am sure if you're a parent you agree.

Here is another excerpt from my email exchange with the principal; I wrote:

Until the perception that schools are a "free for all until the police show up" changes, I fear these types of tragic events will continue. In the last few days, I have found the thought that the primary thing standing in the way of great harm coming to one of my boys is a lack of willingness from a "shooter" troubling.

I think the evidence is pretty clear that taking defensive measures that allow anything to continue largely unabated until the police show up is a losing strategy for those faced with becoming victims. Even in Eau Claire, businesses (transport) a few thousand dollars in armored vehicles with armed drivers. At the same time, none of the staff have any type of reasonable ability to proactively stop someone. I think that needs to change.

I don't believe every teacher should be armed. My wife is a teacher, and like many educators, she is not well suited for armed guard duty. Some teachers do possess the skillset with a desire to protect school staff and children. For example, several educators teaching with my wife are former military, and ideally suited for defending against attacks. I believe it's foolish to remove the best chance of protecting our children we have.

We need attackers to change their perception of schools as "victim zones" and "soft targets". There are many ways to fortify our schools that include non-lethal means. Taser International ( TASR) and other companies produce effective products for defense. Many schools already allow trained educators to possess concealed firearms, and it's time we defend all schools.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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