The following is a Letter to the Editor published in the Sunday Plain Dealer. The title is theirs — “Keep guns out of day-card centers”. After the initial good feeling that my letter was published, I had this knot in my stomach. Really? This is what we’re arguing about? Guns in so many places already that we’re now debating the wisdom of allowing parents to carry loaded guns when they’re dropping off their children? …and please limit your letter to 200 words or under! There was much more I could have said on the ridiculousness to even consider that arrival and dismissal time needs to be made even crazier by adding loaded weapons into the mix. But it’s close to being law in our state and so it’s a serious (critical) issue.
Before I was a pastor, I directed a preschool at my church. The program grew to 300 families and cared for children 18 months old through kindergarten. It was from that experience that I answered a call to seminary and ordained ministry. And it was the years serving in local congregations that ultimately led me to speaking out about gun violence.
Here’s the letter (200 words exactly).
The Republican-controlled Ohio House voted overwhelmingly to allow concealed loaded guns in daycares. Recently I testified against this based on my experience as a preschool director. Rep. Ron Maag, Chair of the House State Government Committee, replied CCW carryholders should not be inconvenienced by not being allowed to carry their guns when dropping off their children. Any responsible parent knows it’s often difficult enough to deliver squirming and sometimes reluctant toddlers into the hands of caregivers without putting a lethal weapon into the mix. A loaded gun increases the danger not only to the child of the person carrying the gun but to all children within range.
Interestingly, the Statehouse is adding metal detectors and banning backpacks not because of any specific threat, but as part of their ongoing process of trying to keep the Statehouse as secure as possible. Does this make sense to anyone that children do not receive the same protection as legislators? This is far too dangerous to dismiss as irony. It is hypocrisy. Safety is not a privilege only for those who can vote to put others’ lives in jeopardy.
The Ohio Senate must realize this injustice and remedy it by voting HB 48 down.
Rev. Kristine Eggert