NRA-backed group wants gun training for school staff
April 2nd, 2013
12:28 PM ET
1 year 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. HillBIllyJoeWhoMadeItTO6thGrade

    I love America, and I am patriotic, But i dont trust the man, i dislike the man and we need guns to protect ourselves from the man!! One day the MAN will come with nukes, tanks and missiles and i will be the only one standing in his way with my
    ar15 and 30 round clip.

    April 2, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. Joe

    Challenge: IF the gun-haters can find one shred of PROOF the NRA was actively involved in ANY of these crimes, I'll listen to the rest of what they have to say. Otherwise, it's all conjecture and wasted hot-air. I'll stick to the basic reality that these were horrible acts of some very trouble people, everything else is just noise and propoganda.

    Now, if we can focus on helping these types of people, or finding the root cause of their issues, we might really have something that will make a real difference. Short of that, some form of armed capability in schools, really does make a LOT of sense. How this is implemented is critical though, so right now these types of ACTIONS are what I want to learn more about as opposed to emotional "blame something/somebody" rhetoric that will get us no where.

    The anti-NRA rhetoric is just non-sense and a weak attempt to make this an emotional blame-game and a failure on the part of gun-haters.

    April 2, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. The REAL Truth...

    The folks proposing these solutions don't spend much time in the average high school do they? You have to seriously question their motives... Perhaps they (the NRA) should FUND all this teacher training they are recommending.
    I guarantee you that if teachers start being required to carry firearms in my ISD, my kids will be home schooled faster than you can say NRA sux!

    April 2, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. DooneyTunes

    NRA again is showing it's sheer genious!! I'm tired of hearing about the criminals and insane people who possess guns. They are not the ones who worry me. Law abiding gun toting citizens become criminals for greed, jealousy and vengence. We need to stop changing our nation to look like the wild, wild west. NRA is money and politcs. I got an idea!! Why don't all of those members be security at all of the schools in the nation!! Because they really, really care!! And bless our school teachers who do a great job day and day out, but you never know when a sane teacher could snap. I'm with you WritingDevil!!

    April 2, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. just sayin

    the answer is to lock up all the crazy people in this country. but the democrats would never agree to so many of their voters being locked up.

    April 2, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. Logic N LA

    Let enact the draft again and put a battalion of soldiers on campus. Search ever student and shoot on sight anyone who does not belong there.
    The answer is not more security, it's tighter access to guns and stiffer penalties for selling unlicensed gun. If you sell a gun without a background check and it's used in a crime, you are as responsible as the person that committed the crime. It's about accountability.

    April 2, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. ellid

    @Joe – kindly stop projecting your own insecurities onto people who disagree with you. It is unbecoming at best, and at worst is unspeakably cruel to people who may well have seen first hand the damage that firearms can and have done to the innocent.

    As for me, I have never in my life been so frightened of anything, or anyone, that I would spend my time and money on a firearms. That's my right as an American, and for you to claim there's something wrong with *me* because of this is absurd.

    April 2, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. scarf

    If this plan goes into effect in a lot of areas, I suspect it will only be a matter of time before we hear less about "suicide by cop" and more about "suicide by teacher." Of course, the shooter will be wanting to take out as many kids as he can in the process. This will change the problem, but it certainly won't solve it.

    April 2, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. Brian Smith

    heh "NRA-backed group wants gun training for school staff" - and while they are at it they should train and arm all the students too!

    April 2, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. Keyser

    There 88,000 + elementary schools alone in this country. This is inane. Do they do any homework before embarrassing themselves? The answer is no. I did my homework.

    April 2, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. Suzie G.

    LOL does this me volunteer moms are not needed any more? Hmm our cameras are a eye level and there are two sets of firewall doors. The problem is that no matter how fortified a school is, it can still be invaded. Chelsea, Alabama Middle school is one recent example of that. They had an off duty deputy as a hired security guard and a young man got in with a semi automatic gun and held children hostage for at least 20 minutes before the deputy talked him down.

    April 2, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. isolate

    Problem: far too many gun crimes committed in the USA.
    NRA answer: More guns.

    April 2, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. Mike

    Come on people! Think like a criminal and you will find the answers.

    April 2, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  14. ManWithThe1000PoundBrain

    The current climate is bad enough with education being a political football, with politicians sticking their nose in education in recent years is ways they historically haven't; and with all the pressures of educating children that come from screwed up homes with poor parenting. And than add all the emphasis on tying a teacher's job to the test score of those students–now add another burden to those same teachers? Really? This is surely a way to turn off thousands of otherwise capable and needed people to the profession. Teachers have enough to deal with already. To add to it that they themselves must have scores of hours of firearms training and basically become pseudo soldiers or police officers... Well dream on, because it isn't going to happen. Utterly ridiculous.

    April 2, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. Suzie G.

    LOL does this mean volunteer moms are not needed any more? Hmm our cameras are at eye level and there are two sets of firewall doors. the problems is that no matter how fortified a school is, it can still be invaded. Chelsea, Alabama Middle School is one recent example of this. They had an off duty deputy as a hired security guard, and a young man still got in with a semi automatic gun. He held several children hostage for about 20 minutes before the deputy talked him down.

    April 2, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. Randal Flag

    I for one am ok with it. For those who do not wish to carry a gun That's fine but of as if a person is willing to be trained and prepared to do more than use their body (Bravely) for a shield; then why not. 1. Should be no Round in chamber.
    2. Must be semi- auto with safety. Should be worn in a "Smart carry" or Thunder ware holster. Or at minimum IWB with a tight retention screw. Gun owners know what I am saying and Non -gun owners really don't care as they have no informed view, just media hype telling them what to think

    April 2, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. Jc

    The NRA needs to stop with this. I fully support armed guards, but I don't want the teachers at my kids school having access to a gun. In a time if need I don't think training will be enough.

    April 2, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. bro

    Australia did away with almost all guns and it has worked really great, it is a success mainly because they don;t have to deal with greed, money and stupidity like the U.S.

    April 2, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. me

    The average person works 2080 hours in a year, the average high school teacher works 2400 hours in the 10 months of the school year, yet are paid for 1700 hours be cause they are exempt and cannot get overtime. And now, regardless of whether it is a good idea or not, people want to add another 60 hours to the teachers busy schedule. The only place this could come from is the already shortened and well needed summer break. Lets take a couple more weeks away and add more pressure. Sounds like a great idea, take one of the lowest paid and highest pressure jobs and add guns. I expect it the saying "going postal" will be changed to "going teacher".

    April 2, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  20. DaveS

    We want armed "resource" officers at our schools and one Representative thinks teaching hunting in school might be a good idea, while we underfund actual education. Evolution and global warming are still considered "sketchy" science? Creationism should be offered as an "option" to evolution yet we don't really want any other religion butting into "our" system? At what point does the wealthiest country in the world understand we are quickly becoming a developing nation?

    April 2, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. Kevin

    Pathetic. This is just PATHETIC. Let's advocate for rifles at Disney, Worlds of Fun, WalMart, and our local churches/synagogues, etc. This is just sickeningly sad.

    April 2, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. Karaya

    The most efficient measure for schools security would be disbanding NRA.

    April 2, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. anominous

    DooneyTunes
    I'm tired of hearing about the criminals and insane people who possess guns. They are not the ones who worry me. Law abiding gun toting citizens become criminals for greed, jealousy and vengence.
    ----–

    What's even scarier is that you are probably allowed to vote and have children.

    April 2, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. Brian

    I think Its the difference between practice and real life. It sounds great to say that someone else would just shoot the intruder. My sister is a teacher. She's about 5'5, 110LBS. I would imagine 90% of the male students in the high school where she teaches could just overpower her and take away the gun before she had time to react. Who/What would prevent that? Seems like a never ending battle.

    April 2, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. Shoestied

    The sooner every man, woman, and child is packing heat the better. That way all hell can break loose over nothing. Forethought and reflection will be a thing of the past. If someone looks at you cross eyed, take em out. Is this what everyone wants?

    April 2, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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