Texas congressman: Principal should have been armed for self-defense
December 16th, 2012
12:21 PM ET
10 years ago

Texas congressman: Principal should have been armed for self-defense

(CNN) - U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert said the deadly Connecticut school shooting could have been halted sooner if staff at the school had been equipped with guns.

"I wish to God (the principal) had had an M4 in her office, locked up, so when she heard gunfire she pulls it out … and takes him out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids," the Republican from Texas said on "Fox News Sunday."

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The gun control debate has been renewed since 20 students and six adults were killed Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Many lawmakers and politicians have called for the renewal of the federal assault weapons ban, a piece of legislation that expired in 2004 at the end of its 10-year term but has yet to be renewed.

Gohmert argued that as the country takes on a conversation about gun rights, people must be "open-minded." He said emotional reactions will naturally lead to a desire to "get rid of all guns," but he said that "you (should) use your head and look at the facts."

"Every mass killing of more than three people in recent history has been in a place where guns were prohibited, except for one," he said, arguing for looser gun laws so more people can be armed for self-protection. "They know no one will be armed."

Gohmert made headlines in July when he made similar remarks, saying more deaths could have been prevented in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting if someone could have fired back at the gunman.

Asked why people need guns in places such as schools, malls and movie theaters, Gohmert said, "For the reason George Washington said, 'A free people should be an armed people.' "

The Second Amendment, he said, "ensures against the tyranny of the government if they know the biggest army is the American people."

On a separate show Sunday, former Education Secretary William Bennett made a similar argument, saying the political debate should be put on hold while emotions are still high.

"The whole nation is mourning. It's an important moment. Let the tears dry before we head off into all these directions at once," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Bennett, a Republican, also agreed with the idea that schools should have a gun.

"I'm not so sure I wouldn't want one person in a school armed, ready for this kind of thing," he said. "It would have to be someone who's trained, someone who's responsible, but my God if you can prevent this kind of thing."

Filed under: Connecticut • Gun rights • Louie Gohmert • Texas
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. rmuser

    The congressman is absolutely right. What's wrong with a policy where maybe but not necessarily teachers are armed? It puts the question in the nut jobs mind that perhaps he'll be met with force. A "gun free zone" only guarantees he won't. Enact all the gun restrictions you want, it will do absolutely nothing.

    December 16, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Blue Dog

    Gohmert should not be allowed to open his mouth, lest give a speech on important matters. What he says is not even funny any more, it's delusionary talk.

    December 16, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. ddblah

    What if the crazy guy uses anti-tank missiles? Are you going to equip everybody cruise missile for protection?

    December 16, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Jim McWerther

    What does the congressman envision? A principal in an elementary school with a holster and gun on her hip patrolling the halls, followed by the shootout at the Kindergarten playground or something aLong those lines? No need to further characerize such a proposal. It's value speaks for itself.

    December 16, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. Inglourious

    "Every mass killing of more than three people in recent history has been in a place where guns were prohibited, except for one..."

    Except for all those mass killings in Iraq and Afghanistan military bases where everyone is already armed to the teeth...

    December 16, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. nintex

    This is the kind of stupid talk that makes Texas the laughing stock of the country. Fortunately there are some sane people in Texas who are appalled at this kind of blithering nonsense. We're the ones who voted for President Obama; unfortunately, we're outnumbered by those with the Wild West mentality.

    December 16, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. Bill

    A brilliant idea. maybe we should do a test run by removing the guards and metal detectors form the halls of congress and have every senator and representative packing heat.

    December 16, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Cory Landis

    1. This is why I dont even ever go to Texas.
    2. This is the thought process of Republicans when fixing problems.

    Lets stop gun violence by giving people more guns....

    We need to be honest about the situation and realize the shooter was a victim also. He was a victim of pain and hatred. We need to figure out what we have failed to allow one of our kids to be filled with so much pain and so much anger and so much hatred towards himself, that he turns a gun on his mother, executes children, and then himself.

    He did not fail us, we as a society failed him. Guns are just an advanced technological tool. And since human evolution outpaced other mammals because of the understanding of how to use tools, we tend to blame it on the tool itself as a scapegoat instead of realizing its the person themselves that are the problem.

    Maybe...If we hadent spent 10 Trillion dollars over the past years on 3 wars trying to find one guy, we could have used that 10 trillion for new schools, afterschool programs for those who are not bless to have parents to come home to afterschool like so many of us are, drug programs so those who come out of prison on non violent offenses dont get sucked right back in creating the highest prison population on the planet.

    ...but nah those wars were important. Who was the president again who led these wars and where was he from???? OH TEXAS

    December 16, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. tammyk tammy

    Just how will a gun-toting Principal with no military training feel when she inadvertantly shoots a child while trying to take out a rampaging lunatic armed with a semi-automatic spraying bullets and protected by body armor? This idiotic idea has little basis in reality. Hey, maybe we can issue bullet-proof vests and helmuts to the kids – it could be the new school uniform. Anything goes just so we can avoid reasonable restrictions on guns and not risk losing political funding from the NRA, right Rep. Gohmert?

    December 16, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Grahame Rhodes

    Why stop there? Give the five year olds and ten year olds guns. Amazing!!!!!!

    December 16, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. R1983

    Every time I hear this congressman speak, I just wonder why those people in Texas keep sending him back to Washington.
    I hear he use to be a Judge, my God that is scary. Those 6 years old in Connecticut is much brighter then he is.

    December 16, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. Georgina

    Of course, key school personnel should be trained in the use of a weapons and have a weapon available.
    They need to be able to protect themselves.

    Don't children and teachers deserve the same chance against a gunman as a convenience store owner has?
    Are potato chips and cigarettes really worth protecting more than people in schools are?
    Does it make sense to have someone armed to protect a bank, but not a school? Get real.

    BOTTOM LINE: If the Principal had been running down the hall- armed, instead of helpless, all 20 children would be here.

    December 16, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. nibbz

    i thought guns were banned at schools?? didnt help those who got killed did it? the Texas senator is right on,
    i blame the law makers who pass these stupid useless laws that does nothing except keep innocent people from defending themselves, end of story

    December 16, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. stevehc1

    "Texas congressman" is NUTS. The country needs MUCH tighter and much more EFFECTIVE *controls* in place to ENSURE that mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and substance abusing people – as well as those who have been convicted of a violent crime – cannot purchase, own, possess, or even have access to guns of any sort. Such *controls* are NOT currently in place, but ARE possible to achieve without infringing on the rights of all others who can safely manage their Second Amendment rights.

    December 16, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. Adam, Esq.

    What an incredibly misleading and inaccurate headline. Never once did the Congressman state the principal should have been armed. Rather, here merely stated he wish the principal was armed. Two very different statements. Why mislead the readers? Who doesn't wish the principal was armed and stopped those senseless murders?

    December 16, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  16. Grady

    leave it to a texas politician to brighten everyones day.

    December 16, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. batjones

    Maybe the parents of Mr. Gohmert had the money to educate him at home, and he does not realize that schools are the most volatile settings in a community. Different genders, races, faiths, wealth all placed into one pot. Forget about someone trying to break inside the school. The potential havoc from within is incalculable. Bullied girls, love sick boys, teachers facing divorce proceedings, harassed staff, under appreciated administrators would all like to take a quick fix of a bullet if given easy access. The introduction of a gun is the least safe solution, because it is an offensive weapon not a defensive shield.

    December 16, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. Wade

    Don't take his comments out of context. He said what if the principal (not the entire staff), had a M4 rifle (that is not a handgun), locked in her office. Conceivably it could be in a gun locker that only the principal had the combination to. She would have at least had a viable option against the madman, rather than her than marching to her death. She took get some training from law enforcement. If she had the gun, she could choose to use it based on the scenario. Just possibly the outcome could have been better than what happened. No guarantee, but maybe better.

    December 16, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. pepsee

    How did this Gohmert guy become a congressman? Does he remove his brains before tlaking? His next proposal, along with the A B Cs teach how to use a gun in the first grade of school and mothers should pack a handgun with the kids' lunch so that the kids can protect themselves. The teachers with guns may not be available right away when in need. Lets get this approved, folks.

    December 16, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. Ruben

    WAKE UP!!!!! WAKE UP!!!! LISTEN!!!! LISTEN!!!! i am so very sick of all of this. AGAIN, they want to ban assault weapons, DID NOT WORK, California and NY have the most strict gun laws and that has not changed the gun violence in either state one iota. it's a political band aid, another so called FBI expert said it's testosterone, really?? How ridiculous! and yet another said it was violent video games...OMG!! Are you people all crazy??? Are dumb and deaf at the same time??? ITS ALL VERY SIMPLE!!! We need to educate people on the symptoms of a psychological break. Many children and young adults have them between the ages of 11 and 27. These psychological breaks can be mild or severe. To compound these mental breaks the persons suffering from this affliction can also take on a narcissistic tendencies which compound the situation with a deep need for an audience. It does not matter if there were guns available, knives a car does not matter. The person suffering from such a break would find a way for an audience. Since CNN and other news agencies are so accommodating to these types of individual there is a guaranteed audience.

    December 16, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. SFC Mike

    Yeah, and when the principal comes out the office door like she did, M4 in hand or not, she gets shot before she can even bring it to bear on the shooter – unless our elementary school principals now must be active duty light infantry or Marines. It's just a ridiculous impractical suggestion. Just like the theater shooting – more armed people in the theater probably would not have made much difference – in the dark, blinded by muzzle flashed, and jostled and pushed around by people trying to get out of the line of fire. Everyone wandering around like Doc Holliday or Rambo isn't going to work.

    December 16, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. retief1954

    Right, Louie... so, here's how it would've played out: 1) principal goes out into hallway to see what's going on; 2) principal somehow avoids being instantly shot, rushes back into her office, finds her purse and retrieves the key to the locked gun cabinet; 3) unlocks cabinet, retrieves M4; 4) retrieves ammunition from locked cabinet, loads several rounds or a full clip into the M4 and releases the safety; 5) principal rushes back out into hallway and begins stalking the shooter; 6) principal finds the shooter, positively identifies him as the shooter, "takes him out", assuming she can compose herself enough to fire at the shooter accurately enough to kill him.

    That's the absurd, impossible fantasy people like Gohmert have about how to address these killers. He somehow thinks the principal could have gone from pursuing her daily business to arming herself in seconds and finding and killing this shooter, who by then would have killed all his victims and himself. Gohmert is stupid for saying the presence of a weapon in the principal's office would have mattered. Plainly, it wouldn't have, and he knows it. He's protecting his gun lobby political contributors. A man this disconnected from reality, this cynical, has no business being a lawmaker in America. None.

    December 16, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. stevehc1

    "Texas congressman" is NUTS. The country needs MUCH tighter and much more EFFECTIVE *controls* in place to ENSURE that mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and substance abusing people – as well as those who have been convicted of a violent crime – cannot purchase, own, possess, or even have access to guns of any sort. Such *controls* are NOT currently in place, but ARE possible to achieve without infringing on the rights of all others who can safely manage their Second Amendment rights.

    December 16, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. Name VA865


    December 16, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. Michael

    Respectfully, the Congressman understands little about educators.

    I've been a professional educator for 23 years; and I can tell you that my colleagues and I are a different kind of people. Educators nurture and seek the growth of our students. We teach them the course content, and we also teach them how to behave and work with others. We teach them how to be Americans, and how wonderfully unique in the world it is to be American. It is our desire that our students mature into happy, productive adults. We constantly give on an emotional level. It is the nature of teachers to nurture.

    One of the terms that governs our calling is "in loco parentis", meaning: "in the place of a parent". While children are with us, parents expect us to care for their kids as if we were their parents. When a young person matures, graduates, or even reaches their mid-life, our parental view does not switch off. Congressman Gohmert, parents should NOT be asked to shoot their children.

    Readers, please don't take me wrong here: I know that all no teacher is perfect. There are the "bad apples" out there, just as in any profession. Sometimes even the pros have a bad day. However, most of America's teachers are doing their best, most of the time.

    In the military, in combat, when a soldier takes a risky action to save the life of a buddy, they are awarded a medal. I can tell you, there are no medals in public education. Sixteen years ago, I was in a crowded 6th grade school lunchroom, looking at a 14-year-old 8th grade student walking with a strange rigidity. He was flanked by his two 8th grade friends. They were all wearing heavy coats that were too warm for the weather. All had a history of discipline problems. I told them to move to the 8th grade lunchroom. They didn't. I had a gut feeling that something was wrong...so I tilted my head to the side, put on a "Yoda" like voice, motioned with my hand and said, "follow follow". They began to follow me down the hall, walking past lines of students going to lunch, and past the library. I stopped to try to get closer to them, but they stopped when I did; so I kept walking. With a head tilt and funny voice, I led them into the principal's office. She was out in another part of the building. I shut the door on the boys, then told the secretary to get the principals here fast. The boy had a loaded handgun tucked into his belt, hidden by his untucked shirt. The gun was stolen from the other boy's father, who did not keep a safety lock on the weapon. I filled out the school discipline paperwork and continued to teach.

    Every day I go in, I wonder if I will have to deal with a life-and-death situation, but what Congressman Gohmert proposes is NOT the answer.

    December 16, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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