NRA-backed group wants gun training for school staff
April 2nd, 2013
12:28 PM ET
2 years ago

NRA-backed group wants gun training for school staff

Washington (CNN) - A commission tasked by the nation's most influential gun lobby to assess school safety proposed a set of recommendations Tuesday that includes a plan to train and arm adults as a way to protect kids from shooters.

Former GOP congressman Asa Hutchinson, who headed the National Rifle Association-backed School Safety Shield, said the plan to train school personnel to carry firearms in schools made sense as a way to prevent shootings like the December massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

"Response time is critical," Hutchinson said at a press conference revealing the plan.

"If you have the firearms in the presence of someone in the school, it will reduce the response time and save lives," he said.

Hutchinson said the recommendation for school personnel to carry weapons includes the stipulation those adults undergo a 40-60 hour training program and are screened through a background check.

The entire report contains eight recommendations, including enhancing training programs for school resource officers and developing an online assessment portal for administrators to gauge their schools' security.

Hutchinson noted at the press conference Tuesday that many schools have visitor policies that aren't enforced and doors that aren't properly secured. Fixing those, he said, would be a step toward preventing further school violence.

He was joined by Mark Mattiolli, whose 6-year-old son James was among the 20 students killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown. Mattiolli, who Hutchinson described as a "special guest" at the recommendations' unveiling, urged lawmakers to look past their notions of the NRA when reading the group's plan.

"Politics need to be set aside here, and I hope this doesn't lead to name calling," Mattiolli said. "These are recommendations for solutions. And that's what we need. We need to look at that appendix and we need to do something."

The NRA first announced the National School Shield Program in December as its response to the Newtown school shooting a week earlier. It posted a bare-bones website and pledged to report back with a set of school safety proposals.

Hutchinson said Tuesday those proposals were directed at federal and state lawmakers, as well as the NRA itself, which will now decide which of the items to official adopt as recommendations.

Immediately following the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told reporters, supporters and a few vocal protesters, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

"Why is the idea of a gun good when it's used to protect our president or our country or our police, but bad when it's used to protect our children in their schools? They're our kids," he said.

LaPierre, the longtime face of the organization, stood firm to that position and hasn't wavered despite immense criticism and pressure.

Some lawmakers in several states have considered proposals to arm and train teachers. While the Obama administration hasn't ruled out some form of armed protection on school property, Vice President Joe Biden made it clear the idea wasn't his top priority. In a conference call last week with supporters, Biden indicated he preferred background checks be performed on all gun sales and took issue with the idea of arming legislators.

"The last thing we need, and ask any teacher, is to arm teachers ... Turn schools into armed camps," he said.

"But what does make sense is if a school decides they want to have a school resource officer – that is a sworn shield, someone who is a sworn police officer, in or out of uniform, armed or unarmed, depending on what the school wants – in the school to be able to have contact with and build relationships with not only the staff but the students in that school," he said.

Funding such programs remains a key sticking point between the White House and the NRA, including how lawmakers would dole out the grant money to local schools.

Recent public polling shows the nation is divided on whether or not schools should increase the number of armed guards.

CNN's Gregory Wallace and Todd Sperry contributed to this report.


Filed under: Gun rights • NRA
soundoff (434 Responses)
  1. California Conservative

    Democrats want to take away your 2nd amendment right. The rest of those American rights to follow.............

    April 2, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  2. Really?

    Gun control seems to work alright for other modern nations, so why not the U.S.? Hmmm maybe we could learn a thing or two from other countries, but no conservatives are too thick skulled for that nonsense.

    April 2, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. gladiatorgrl

    'cause being armed and trained works so well for law enforcement – NOT!

    April 2, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Just the other day two kids were arrested for trying to poison their teacher. They poured hand sanitizer in her water. Kids are bad! What's to make you think that a child won't attempt to gain access to a teachers gun lock box? It may be a hypothetical, but kids say and do the darndest things.

    April 2, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. Jeff

    For those of us living in the real world, the NRA’s proposal is absurd. First, it introduces guns into schools. How often will these guns be mistaknly left out, lost, stolen or forceably taken from a surprised teacher? As any educator knows, students cannot control their emotions as adults do, and this results in heated altercations at virtually every school, every day. Now add guns to that mix.

    And if we’re so lucky to have a teacher actually prepared to fire upon someone who they realize is a genuine bad guy about to attack students with a weapon, just how likely is that teacher to actually hit the bad guy with a bullet? Heck, forget hitting the bad guy, what are the chances that the teacher will avoid hitting students panicking and running around?

    What is the average shot-to-hit ratio of a trained soldier? Police officer? Several years ago, a slew of police officers, shooting at point blank range on a NY City Street, wounded NINE bystanders before finally getting the bad guy. And we want this scenario to play out in our classroom with lesser-trained teachers?

    April 2, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. Barbra & Jack Donachy

    Based on our experience as teachers and our observations as researchers, only about 1 in 10 schools has a meaningful school-wide student management policy in place and consistently followed. So... before the NRA leaps to the conclusion that our schools need more guns, how about Someone – ANyONE – prevail upon our school boards and administrators to get with it and attend to the lack of student management protocols. In the 10% of schools that have procedures in place and follow them, they work wonders in helping with everything from identifying our most troubled students to getting them the help they need. On a day-to-day basis, these protocols help provide a safe, orderly education environment.

    April 2, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. Retta

    We the PEOPLE, the majority of American voters have spoken, and we want gun control.

    PERIOD.

    You wanna be drug store cowboys in the this day & age need to know the days of packing clips of 10 or more rounds, AND a ban on assualt weapons is a no brainer for those of us who have brains.
    Yeah, a background check has it's holes BUT it's better than NOTHING!

    I want everyone that I vote for to support gun controls, I have not forgotten the children that were slain, and all the others, so many others, gunned down by people who could not pass a REAL background check if they wanted too, I will hold my politicans feet to the fire on this, so help me God.

    April 2, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. alan

    really?........how about provide a secure building, and maybe a local policeman full time........they don't like that because it costs too much, might raise the local residents taxes by 1.50......sad state of affairs

    April 2, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. GatorDude

    If we can't trust teachers with firearms, I'm not so sure trusting them with children is a great idea.

    April 2, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. bearitstrong

    Who pays for this? The NRA? Sound of crickets chirping...

    April 2, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. bill123

    Anti-gunners love being victims, it fits in with their utopian communist idealogy, having no guns, responsibility, and letting someone else control you through fear.

    April 2, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. JD

    I never would have thought the NRA would want to arm and train school staff. This is news? When do the watchtowers and the razor wire go in for every school. And don't forget the armed checkpoints at every corner inside. More guns and more people with guns is NOT the answer.

    April 2, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    "If you have the firearms in the presence of someone in the school, it will reduce the response time and save lives," he said."

    Yep. More guns for the gun manufacturing industry. No doubt the NRA is going to pay for all that gun training it deems neccessary for the innocent of us to protect ourselves from the gun toting ... advocates?

    April 2, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. Ann

    I Had Some Teachers Growing Up That Would Scare The Living Daylights Out Of Me If They Had Been Allowed To Bring A Gun To Class

    April 2, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. Derek

    Hooray, the NRA has the real solution for violence.. more violence. Maybe someday, like 1,000 years in the future, we will be past this technological adolescence that's been poisoned by fear and aggression.

    April 2, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  16. tangledthorns

    FACT: Authoritarians support gun control.

    April 2, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. bill123

    bearitstrong

    Who pays for this? The NRA? Sound of crickets chirping...
    -----------------------------------

    Just let children die instead. 30% of schools already have a SRO, there is no reason all of them can't have one.

    April 2, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. vargvast

    When will the NRA get rid of this talking corporate monkey an get a real defender of the 2nd Amendment? Every idea that comes out of his mouth only benefits the gun manufacturers he's in the pocket of.

    April 2, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I have a proposition....

    you want to have a gun...great.

    how about you have that gun insured, if anyone is shot by it, YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY PAYS. Make it that simple and see how many people return their guns.
    ------------------------------------------------
    I actually like that idea. we need insurance for everything else in this country. I believe the 2nd Amendment says " a well REGULATED militia." Operative word being "REGULATED." Making you purchase insurance is a good form of regulation.

    April 2, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. BOb the Prairie Dog

    "Fighting fire with fire just makes more fire."

    April 2, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. Draka

    The left is quick to label any teacher that would consider protecting their students a "killer. A shepherd protecting their flock may have to kill the wolf ,but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

    April 2, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. cjm71

    Does the NRA understand that the 2nd Amendment does not require everyone to own or handle a gun? I don't think that many teachers I know want to handle a gun or possess one as a term of employment as an educator, and I come from a long line of teachers. (Although I broke the mold for my family and became a lawyer). The NRA is burying itself and its positions are ridiculous. Guns in schools, where curious children spend their days, is not a good combination.

    April 2, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Donna

    Chiz Dippler
    How about doing something to prevent these gun wielding maniacs from getting guns and approaching schools
    -----

    So how do you predict which mentally ill person is violent to the point of killing others? And how do you get all of them taken off the streets and locked up? And how do you keep them away from cans of gasoline as well? They can create quite an explosion.

    April 2, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. RV Doug

    The NRA is the USA's answer to the black plague. Look at how many people in the US die every year by gun violence. You don't need an AR15 or a 357 magnum to go big game or duck hunting.

    April 2, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. joeyjim

    At my Iowa high school I was pretty sure that some of the teachers had guns at least in their trucks. They would leave at the bell to go hunting. Nobody ever got shot either. Must have been a statistical anomoly

    April 2, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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