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Worried about kids at school? Good.
Turn in your guns

When the pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Kansas City, Mo., was approached by concerned parents worried about the safety of the parish school, he decided to act.

In the wake of recent school shootings, he held a meeting for parents. According to an account in The Kansas City Star, Fr. Gerald Waris told the nearly 100 parents who came to the evening meeting that the school would do all it could to provide a safe environment.

He said staff would take special training, that the school would more stringently enforce a requirement for visitors to sign in and wear badges. A speaker was scheduled to talk to the school children about bullying.

Then Waris switched to what parents could do. First, check the kids’ backpacks everyday to make sure there were no objects students could use to harm themselves or others. And, he said, parents could remove the guns from their homes.

He offered to take any guns and lock them up until the school year is over. It would be done in complete confidence. If an owner wanted the gun returned, the priest would hand it over.

There were no takers. No discussion. No reaction, even from one parent who had threatened to take his children from the school, he was so fearful for their safety. He owned guns, by the way. He admitted to Waris that he did. No doubt the guns are much like the ones used when kids killed kids at other schools.

From all indications, the parent who said he owned a gun and the other parents are not unusual. Kids keep killing kids with their parents’ guns. Sometimes kids use guns they own themselves. Parents worry, they ask questions, they wonder how such things could happen. And they keep the guns.

National Catholic Reporter, April 6, 2001