Short takes on issues
Packin' in schools • While teachers who carry concealed firearms in Utah schools assure parents the practice makes their children safer, some moms and dads may disagree. State law, however, does not take the right of those parents to decide what's best for their children into consideration; it only protects the right of armed teachers to keep their concealed weapons secret. That hardly seems to fit with the values of a state that upholds parental rights consistently and a Legislature that traditionally touts the supremacy of parents to make decisions about their own children. Any parent who asks should be told whether a child's teacher carries a concealed weapon in school. Then the parent can decide if the child should remain in that classroom.
Packin' 'em in • Many conservative Republicans have argued against government using its power to "pick winners and losers" in the free market. But in Utah, those who own, carry, use or manufacture guns are always winners when it comes to state law and policy. Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, president of the Utah Taxpayers Association, made that clear once again the other day when he suggested on his blog that the Legislature should eliminate sales tax on machinery, equipment and replacement parts used in the gun-making process in order to entice gun manufacturers from states that are less pro-gun than Utah, which would be many of them. His blog piece titled "Shelter From The Storm: Utah's Opportunity," outlines how he would "reduce obstacles and offer incentives to gun manufacturers located in the Beehive State." Seems appropriate. After all, how many other states have a "state firearm"?
Helping them out • The full reintegration of military veterans into society is not only crucial for both the veterans and the nation, it is the very least we can do to thank and honor those who have borne the burden of military service in our nation's behalf. That is why the University of Utah, Utah Valley University and Weber State University all offer different levels of services to students who are veterans. But it is Salt Lake Community College that leads the way in this effort. Its veterans center provides an established support network that has earned a spot on Military Times' Best for Vets list in both 2011 and 2012. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, many thousands of vets will be looking to build civilian careers. Schools such as SLCC, which not only educate these Americans, but also go out of their way to help them with all aspects building a successful civilian life, are examples for all to honor.