To the Editor:
The title given The Associated Press coverage of the National Rifle Association’s news conference that appeared in Saturday’s Chronicle (“NRA says armed police officers in every school will keep kids safe”) short-changes the NRA in what it is proposing to do.
In actuality, what the NRA announced at its news conference was that it was going to, immediately, do two things to address lack of security at all schools in the U.S. that requested its assistance:
1. Provide, free, expert inspections, plans, and continuing advice on school renovations, policies, and practices adequate to secure schools from armed invaders.
2. Recruit, organize, and schedule volunteer armed, trained, and certified guards, free, for all time in the future.
The response the NRA receives from the media, the president, and the Congress should be: “Thank you,” and Congress should immediately pass any necessary legislation to allow local and state governments to transfer legal responsibility for school security from government to the NRA.
Hopefully this arrangement will save lives. Certainly, this arrangement will, finally, provide a realistic test of libertarians’ frequent assertions that it is possible and practical to organize, fund, and sustain an immense effort involving thousands if not millions of people willing to volunteer their time and continual effort to do a very important but incredibly time-consuming job, reliably and perpetually.
I personally don’t think that the NRA can or will even try to do what it said it would do.
But, if it does, I will gratefully congratulate the people who accomplish this, will admit that in the past I have been wrong about the efficacy of strictly voluntary efforts to reliably produce public goods and services, and will change my mind regarding the practicality of libertarian suggestions of how voluntary action can substitute for “government interference.”