NEA chief cool to NRA recommendations
April 3rd, 2013
07:29 PM ET
1 year ago

NEA chief cool to NRA recommendations

(CNN) - The president of the nation's largest teachers group on Wednesday rejected the National Rifle Association's proposal to put guns in schools.

"We believe the NRA's focus is misguided and in fact a distraction from what we ought to be talking about," said Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association in an interview on CNN International’s Connect the World.

A day earlier, the NRA's National School Shield program recommended training and arming adults in schools as a first line of defense against mass shootings such as the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. The group, led by former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson, outlined a total of eight recommendations such as school resource officer training programs, access control systems and an online school safety evaluation tool.

Van Roekel said the group's main recommendation is off-base.

"When we poll our members or the public, they overwhelmingly say, ‘we don't want guns in school,’ " he said. "The idea is to keep guns out of school, not find new ways to put them in there. No parent in America or anywhere in the world wants our kindergarten student to pass someone with a gun on their way to the classroom. That's not the way we make schools safe and secure."

Instead, he said, "we need to focus keenly on preventive measures," including improving access to mental health services, improving school security and implementing gun-control measures.

"We need to pass common sense gun legislation that closes loopholes, requires universal background checks and keeps guns out of the hands of dangerous people," he said.

Background-check legislation is currently stalled in Congress by a filibuster threat, but those negotiating a deal have not given up hope.

Several recent polls have shown that about nine in 10 Americans support requiring background checks on all gun sales. That number has remained constant in recent months, while support for other gun control measures - such as a ban on assault weapons or limit on magazine sizes - has dropped.

"I think everyone agrees that schools should be safe, that students should be safe," Van Roekel said. "The good news is that schools are probably the safest place for any child in America at any time. The sad news is that it still isn't safe enough, and we can do more."

The NEA says it has 3 million members, and the NRA has nearly 5 million.


Filed under: Gun control • Gun rights • NRA
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Cymbal Ism

    No child of mine will ever have to worry about schools being armed to the teeth. The first gun in, my child comes out. End of discussion.

    April 3, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Lunching sheriff gunned–this nation needs GUN-BAN LAWS. Period.

    April 3, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  3. rs

    Simple explaination- one man (NEA) is educated and knows about schools, children, teachers and public education; the other (the NRA guy) is a wingnut and rube for the weapons manufacturers.

    April 3, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  4. Name Uche Agonsi

    I sincerely feel that with more sophisticated guns & usages( especially criminal uses), America deserves improved gun control designs, in the forms of legislations....& liability acts. The New York Congresswoman was right in her suggestion of liability insurance cover for purchasers, the ten thousand dollars fine for non-holders. In ,addition, in criminal consequences from the usages of the gun should be bourne by the purchasers....just like in car licensing.
    Losses of guns should be reported immediately to law enforcement authorities....without gainsaying it, its hightime America lived upto its responsibility. You can take that to the bank.

    April 3, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  5. Mike Texoma

    The Newtown School killer got off 155 rounds in just a few minutes. Now the NRA proposes putting automatic or semi-automatic firepower in the hands of several trained school personnel. So, if we get another shooter with one of those real efficient killing machines the good guys and the bad may get off 750 rounds in the battle. And while this is going on, what are the teacers and the students supposed to do? The NRA, Mr. LaPierre, and their ex-congressional mouthpiece are idiots.

    April 3, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  6. lottie

    the nra is one big joke that likes scaring the tar out of stupid people. All this coming to take our guns .B.S.

    April 3, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. HenryMiller

    "Based on required filings with the federal government, it is estimated that between 1990 and 2002 eighty percent of the NEA's substantial political contributions went to Democratic Party candidates and ninety five percent of contributions went to Democrats in 2012."

    In other words, the NEA is a branch of the Democratic Party–and is as spineless.

    April 3, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  8. Pete

    So glad a person that tells the NRA how it is and not sugar coating it either,to the point..Mr.Roekel I applaud your straight forward approach at shutting down the radicals that are the NRA..You are who you are for just this reason and the NRA is used to running right over most people and organizations but you won't with one of the largest one in the country if not the world with the teachers association,one that could shut down schools tommorrow if he snaps his fingers,that's the power he possess..So NRA you'd better watch what you say and how you say it if you don't want teachers running roughshot over your association because believe me the NEA has a lot more strength that the NRA can muster with outside help and La Pierre you know its true so back off while you still can..And remember these teachers have their pupils best interests at heart and we know the gun manufacturers are close to yours too,so what's more important guys ,kids or guns you decide ,I have!!

    April 3, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein

    The idea of schools not having weapons in school is so that we don't have violence at schools. It should not be a place of fear which weapons cause. Having armed guards is not the answer.

    April 3, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  10. ak_steve

    Love it – "misguided" and "distraction" – that is exactly what the NRA is – a misguided distraction.

    April 3, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  11. Larry L

    We simply need grandfather clauses on all existing weapons, 100% background checks including private sales, no new large capacity magazines on center-fire weapons, and no enhanced firing devices like ratcheted triggers, or recoil-aided devices created to circumvent the firing mechanism of a semi-auto to produce a weapon with an unusually high rate of fire. That's common-sense and causes nobody to sacrifice.

    April 4, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  12. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Stay away from the NRA!

    April 4, 2013 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  13. Thomas

    Why not have all students wear flack jackets and helmets to school ?
    Also have mandatory NRA hand gun training starting with third graders , let responsible kids carry a firearm , its not much different then being a cross guard .

    April 4, 2013 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  14. J.V.Hodgson

    I cry in shame for how our politicians ( generic) claim to be representing the people, and am disgusted by the utterly excessive use of the filibuster. I am appalled by the power of an organisation (NRA) of less than 5 m members influence over the law makers in our House and Senate, and also because the " air time" given is far greater for them than the time given to the teachers in this case with 3m members, and probably many more who are teachers but not members of the NEA.
    Todays filibusters are not based on logic, voicing the will of the majority of people but rather, unsound ideological interpretations of a constitutional right ( which has been overtaken by time and circumstances and TECHNOLOGY)
    On the other hand if they are so sure of the constitutional grounds for opposing assault weapons bans and Magazine size laws then put your arguments forward in sensible logical debate of the unconstutionality of such a law and prove by proper means it is not the will of the " we the people"... use the gun lobbys arguments in debate against such bans and then have a free vote.... but be sure when voting you respect the will of your voters they are far more important to your re-election than the NRA who by the way at best in the last election maybe influenced the result in 2 out of 13 cases... QED thier influence/ effect is exaggerated.
    20 kids and 6 teachers dead is a fact not exaggeration..... nor are the other mass shootings.
    The NRA has flip flopped on comprehensive back ground checks even and gun trafficking.
    The NRA is as bad as the crazy shooters they are paranoid, when anyone even remotely suggests a gun law of any kind.
    Einsteins definition of insanity repeatedly doing the same thing even though its wrong morally or otherwise.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    April 4, 2013 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  15. wild man

    our schools are protected by signs that read "no firearms permitted on school grounds" and then when someone with a firearm intent on doing harm shows up what do we do? we call other men with firearms. the government arms most of their employees the government is not anti gun but they are anti you owning a gun wake up

    April 4, 2013 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  16. irememberallthelies

    I bet the schools in some states putting in armed teachers etc wont habe a single gun related incident. Where these other schools will continue to be used as shooting ranges. Lets just wait on the cops for 10 minutes so even more kids die so we can parade around the parents to pass more feel good laws. Criminals wont care about the background check laws and will still avoid them. But hey if the law makes you feel all warm and fuzzy it must feel good. Having a gun has saved my daughters from possibly being hurt or worse twice since the economy tanked. They know guns are not toys and to never touch them. Some common since gun teaching if they jave armed personnel in a school will go a long way. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for.

    April 4, 2013 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  17. Bob

    Guns in schools is pure LUNACY.

    April 4, 2013 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  18. Marie MD

    Just cool? It should be North Pole (before it disappears) extreme cold. Martin Bashir said it best yesterday on his show. Why stop at teachers. Armed elementary school children with 22s which they can hold in their tiny little hands.
    Four million strong telling the rest of the country how to live.
    The nra brought armed "guards" to the national press building to show exactly what they meant about armed "guards". They should have thrown them out or everyone should have walked out.

    April 4, 2013 06:41 am at 6:41 am |