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The Free Market Solution: Guns in Schools

Often times after a school shooting, the public engages in the great gun control debate. One of the most debated topics is whether or not we should have armed guards in our public schools. Those on the left typically disagree with allowing guns in school while those on the right believe this to be the almighty solution to the increase in school shootings. 


I neither agree nor disagree with allowing armed guards in schools. School shootings are an increasing problem that needs to be addressed before more people are harmed. In my opinion, the solution is simple: let the market decide. 


Whether or not there are armed guards in schools does not have to be a policy issue. If we let the market decide, the more desirable option out of the two will prosper leaving the other option to either disappear or reevaluate their business model. Instead of mandating or prohibiting armed guards in schools, the people should be able to decide where they want to send their children. 

Imagine a scenario where there are two schools. School A has armed guards while School B does not. Some parents may choose to send their children to School A because they believe that they will enjoy higher protections than they would have at School B. Some parents, however, may choose to send their children to School B because they believe that this option offers a safer learning environment free from armed guards. 


In this scenario, there is a market that allows for both schools to exist. There is a market for people who want armed guards in schools and there is a market for people who do not. This allows for both options to coexist. However, whenever competition in a free market occurs, one idea will be more profitable than another. 


For instance, School A may cost more than School B due to the armed guards’ incomes. If the armed guards in School A prove to be inefficient and the rate of school shootings is not decreased, people may choose to remove their children from School A and place them in School B. If this becomes the case, School B becomes the more profitable idea. The owner of School B may choose to create similar schools to account for the increase in consumers. School A may be able to survive off of their remaining market, but they certainly would not be looking to expand. 


School A, however, may prove to be efficient in reducing gun violence in schools. The armed guards may serve as a deterrent to those who may consider an attack, or they may actively prevent an attack. If this becomes the case, the people may accept the additional costs and remove their children from School B and place them in School A. If everyone chooses to do this, there will no longer be a market for School B, When the consumers disappear, the product disappears. 


It does not matter whether or not I personally believe that there should be armed guards in schools; the market will determine which is the most efficient option. Evident in the examples above, three scenarios may occur: the market may allow for both options to coexist equally; the market may allow for both options to coexist, but one option being the more profitable one, or the market may only allow for one of the options. 


Some of you may ask, “Why let the market decide?” To this I would counter “Why let a member of congress with no expertise on the subject matter decide?” I would allow for the market to decide because, although it is prone to multiple failures, the end result will be the most efficient option at the lowest available cost. The market runs on a trial and error system; some ideas will be profitable, while other ideas will be dead on arrival. 


The free market solution is the best current solution to the debate over whether or not we should have armed guards in schools. It does not account for people’s feelings; it only focuses on the facts. Which system is the most efficient at the lowest costs? It allows for the competition of ideas. Like in any competition, one of the options will rise above the other or both of the options will result in a tie. 


Lastly, the free market solution offers an alternative to the policy-making solutions that consistently fail to show any improvement. Policy makers tend to get distracted by the current politics and the public’s uneducated opinions that they can never achieve a solution as efficient and as cost effective as what the free market can produce. Think about that. The government cannot produce a better product than the private market. Yet we still trust our members of Congress to propose reasonable and rational legislation that addresses the issue of school shootings.


Final thought: Allow for the privatization of schools. Let experts decide how to address the market of consumers looking to send their children to school. Through trial and error, the free market solution is the best option. 




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