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. Tony in Maine

    The NRA is trying to create a weapon of mass distraction – something so totally outrageous that people will ignore what must be done to stop them from doing this.

    I was a teacher. I was an hunter and owned a number of rifles and pistols. I would never have dreamed of mixing guns with hundreds of children. It is totally insane and the leadership of the NRA, if they truly believe this is a good idea, are not emotionally or mentally fit to own a weapon more dangerous than a squirt gun.

    April 2, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. juniper

    Guns In Schools!?!?
    Wow,, these right wing NRA gun nuts have no shame.
    "Across the country, some 23,200 schools — about one-third of all public schools — had armed security staff in the 2009-10 school year, the most recent year for which data are available." (NY Times 12/18/2012)
    oops,, I hate when that happens

    April 2, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    More insanity from the NRA. Spend millions of dollars to make schools an armed camp while teachers are being laid off? This is the 21st century and not the Dark Ages of mankind. Repeal the Second Amendment and regulate the sale and use of fire arms. Prevent criminals and the mentally ill from obtaining guns.

    April 2, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. jake1969

    humtake "Here we go again. Two sides offering great options yet we STILL don't work to implement both. Instead, let's just argue over which options are better and do nothing. That's the American way."

    I couldn't agree or share your frustration more. That was my prediction the day after Newtown. Newtown was so, so devastating. I hoped for action but immediately thought the same thing - both sides will come up with a lot of good ideas, but liberals won't support the armed guards idea, no matter how sound, simply because it comes from the NRA...meanwhile, the NRA will continue to resist common sense notions like background checks and bans (or even limits) on certain assault weapons. And, in the end, our kids are no safer than the day before Newtown.

    April 2, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Irene

    This is absolutely outrageous! What's needed is more resources for the mentally ill–more programs so that schools can pinpoint who needs help–and make sure that they are not isolated! Also, background checks....we can't make getting guns as easy as purchasing bubblegum--also make people pay insurance on those guns--(cars have to)-this way we can afford the programs for the mentally ill! Come on...think people! Whose running the show???????

    April 2, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. Charlie

    What is not mentioned is that former GOP congressman Asa Hutchinson, who headed the National Rifle Association-backed so-called School Safety Shield, is employed by the NRA. His projected salary for 2013, $270,000.

    April 2, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. raenanda

    Interesting how many people "used to be NRA members". Must be part of the anti-gun strategy. Notice none of these people sound like any gun owner you know?

    April 2, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. aCriticalEye

    Yes, who is going to pay for armed police. According to the GOP will come fromthe government, the GOP via the NRA only makes the rules. Everybody else pays the bills.

    Its time to oust both the Tea party funded GOp and the NRA.

    April 2, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. John

    And after we arm the schools then what, the hospitals, churchs, movie theaters, ... everybody!!! We end up back in 1873. I'll play Lin McAdams and you can be Dutch Henry Brown.

    April 2, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  10. ghostriter

    Reasonable Man

    "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"– a process we do NOT require of all gun owners.

    Now that is funny. The NRA is for background checks....just not for everyone.

    April 2, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. raenanda

    We won't complain about a $16 trillion dollar deficit but my oh my the horror of having to pay to protect our kids.

    April 2, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Kenneth Kleefeld

    The NRA report justifiably recommends (pg. 97) psychological testing for anyone carrying a weapon on school premises. Having said that, shouldn't that be required of all gun owners?

    April 2, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. California Conservative

    Next issue democrats take up is what you can drink and eat. OPPPS? Too late.

    April 2, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Marcia

    So I am an armed teacher and receive a report that there is an armed person in the school and we have a shoot out-and it is the parent of one of the children-In the shoot out I accidently hit and kill 3 students-who is paying for my murder trial ???because that is what would happen

    April 2, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. rs

    raenanda

    We won't complain about a $16 trillion dollar deficit but my oh my the horror of having to pay to protect our kids.
    _________________________
    I'd be happy to pay for more police, but not a penny for more nuts with guns!

    April 2, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. California Conservative

    Democrats never lied the Bill of Rights anyways right libby's?

    April 2, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. peterfrohwein

    Living in FEAR is NOT living. Hate breeds hate. Fear breeds Fear.
    Love is the ONLY thing which will BREAK this insane cycle.

    Guns are NOT the answer, LOVE IS.

    April 2, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. kg

    Guns do not belong in schools period. Kids are just as dangerous with a gun as adults are and can find their way into anything, even if the teacher or staff have their guns locked up. You have a lot of irresponsible teachers out there these days as well so who is to stay they would not shoot the children? No guns in schools period.

    April 2, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. Paganini

    I can't be the only one who sees that his "idea" is obviously treating only the symptoms, and not addressing the actual problem. As a wise college professor used to drill/shout at us.. "Work the problem, people!!".

    From the Senate, right on to the payroll of the NRA. Well played, Hutchinson.

    April 2, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. gabe

    I'm for armed guards in school as long as they don't raise my taxes for this. Gun owners should pay for this just like how they increase my car insurance/registration/smog fees for vehicle related problems.

    April 2, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. raenanda

    You cannot legislate away bad behavior. All your background checks, mandatory insurance, gun limits, magazine bans etc. only hurt people that obey laws. We should not punish ownership of anything. We should punish actions. Responsibility – what a concept. Accountability – what a concept.

    April 2, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. rs

    Paganini

    I can't be the only one who sees that his "idea" is obviously treating only the symptoms, and not addressing the actual problem. As a wise college professor used to drill/shout at us.. "Work the problem, people!!".

    From the Senate, right on to the payroll of the NRA. Well played, Hutchinson.
    ____________________________________________
    Correct! And I am not the only one that sees that this is simply a way to sell more guns for the weapons industry, Right?

    April 2, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. California Conservative

    It's obvious there's a major breakdown in our society on an ethical and moral standpoint. Shock societies can't survive.

    April 2, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Shuffler

    Sad to see you folks who put more importance and security on your money than on your children. You should be ashamed.

    April 2, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  25. Charlie

    Heck, all the NRA is trying to do is sell more guns so that they can get more sales commissions from the gun manufactures. Why should they let the safety of a couple million school children stand in the way?

    April 2, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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