In wake of shooting, teacher reflects on gun control

Rhodes: Focus should be on mental health


Mary Stempky

Mr. Lance Rhodes teaches his C period class on March 2.

Sara Kress, Culture Co-Editor

Since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, gun control has been a hot topic in the media and in Congress. Many of the loudest voices have been calling for stricter gun control.

Social studies teacher Mr. Lance Rhodes said he believes that the primary issue is not with gun control, but with mental health. Rhodes said, “I don’t think the issue right now is really a matter of controlling guns. I think the issue is that in all these places, in all these situations we’ve had, they were mental health issues first.”

Even though Rhodes is not a strong proponent of stricter gun control, he does agree some revisions could be made gun control. He said, “As a member of the NRA and a strong proponent of the Second Amendment rights, I would say that there are certain common sense things that I would not object to, as long as they don’t infringe on law abiding citizen’s rights.”

Rhodes explained what forms of gun control he would consider a good idea. “I think the elimination of the bump stocks, that makes sense to me. I can see no reason for that. So that would be a good starting point. I would say if somehow background checks included severe mental health issues, that could be added,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes did acknowledge that it would be difficult to screen for mental illness, however.

Rhodes said, “Another thing they’re talking about is raising the age required to buy a gun. I think raising the age from 18 to 21 will do absolutely nothing.”

One dialogue that grew as a result of the school shooting was the debate over whether teachers should be armed in order to protect their students. Rhodes said that he would support arming teachers, but only if they went through a rigorous training and screening process.

He said, “I think one thing that all these shootings have in common is they’re gun free zones. The one common denominator is gun free zones. I’m for hardening soft targets: schools, churches, daycare centers.”

Rhodes continued to emphasize that he believes gun control is not the major issue at hand. He said, “It’s not a gun control issue, it’s a mental health issue. We’re starting to look in the wrong closet.”