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

    As you copy and pasted content from the much older story, you still didn't catch the typo that Biden wanted to arm "legislators"?

    April 2, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Greg in Arkansas

    The same NRA logic applied to the TSA would be to arm flight attendants and to train ariline personnel to carry firearms on aircraft as a way to prevent things like 9/11 from hapening........think of the money we could save by eliminating the TSA.

    April 2, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Arming teachers is not the way to go. All we need is a shootout between a teacher and a gunman with children caught in the crossfire. Great idea! If we want to secure our schools, let's start with some common sense solutions such as metal detectors. Why not invest money in a security system that will lock all the class room doors and barricade the windows in the case of a shooting. More guns is not the answer. Ever heard of the phrase "violence begets violence" NRA?

    April 2, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. common sense

    Remember......Columbine had armed cops at their school.

    April 2, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Russ

    The problem with trained teachers, is that even trained police or trained military will screw up and kill someone they thought had a gun, or was reaching for one.

    April 2, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    i'm not against armed guards in our schools, but i do question why the nra and others have so much faith in our public education system being able to get this right.

    April 2, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. sftommy

    Cut teachers pay and insists they carry a gun? Hazard pay? Collective bargaining should get much more interesting with hardware now on the table!

    April 2, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. David Stone

    There is NOTHING wrong with providing a means of self protection to teachers who are qualified and trained to have the gun available. We trust them with our kids lives, and I want them to have a way to fight back against any evil monster that comes wandering onto the campus to kill children. It always takes many minutes for police to get on scene, and the armed staff may be enough to deter a shooter from every choosing a given school.

    April 2, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. DAn

    I pray the NRA continues to make these kinds of proposals. Hopefully many former NRA members, like myself, will finally see them for what they are: an extremist fringe special-interest group of cowards and social misfits. After seeing NRA's response to the cowardly Newtown massacre, which they definitely share blame for, I finally realized what that organization is all about. Degenerates.

    April 2, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. LittleAztec

    Yep–when is NRA gonna put the money where their mouths are? Schools are strapped for cash as it is and now they are expected to add weapons and training to the budget? Get real NRA.

    April 2, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Brian

    The gun industry's marketing wing, the NRA, proposes a plan that involves buying more guns and ammunition? Shocking.

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

    Sounds like common sense so the liberals must be screaming! How is it this is OK for the president's children and the school they attend yet it is not a good idea for the rest of our children? We put armed men on airplanes and pilots can even carry now. Yet the liberals will scream and moan that this is a bad idea. Amazing... Liberalism... it's a disease.

    April 2, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Chandra

    Where is the money for all this?

    April 2, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. lensmith

    I really think that the NRA has lost its common sense.

    April 2, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Ray Horsley

    The NRA position is to eventually have your pastor standing in front of your congregation with an assault weapon strapped to his side. The should pay for these bone-headed programs.

    April 2, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. tv22

    Cross fire in schools, just what we need. What's wrong with just some better security at the front end? Put a guard at entrances, fortify those entrances, allow lockdowns of portions of the school so you can seal off the entry ways from the rest of the school. I'm all for gun rights, but I'm amazed at some of the things that the NRA comes out with.

    Maybe we should arm the kids too, that would get interesting come report card time.

    April 2, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. silencedogood20

    People need to realize that, short of discovering a planet made entirely of Nerf, it is impossible to eliminate all risk. No protection is going to prevent a crazy person determined enough to kill.

    That said, the NRA proposal is far better and on target than the President's. Its not fool proof. Its also ridiculous to claim they should fund it. Thats one of the few things Obama could spend money on that would be within the proper scope of government. No surprise its the only thing he's unlikely to promise to fund.

    April 2, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. AnnoyedByPolitics

    @Dutch/Bad Newz, VA – Yes, because the alternative where the shooter is allowed to shoot at anyone without hindrance is so much better. At least if a teacher is shooting back, the attackers focus will be on that person, and not random kids running down the halls. Of course there is risk involved, but it's no worse than letting him go unchallenged. At least the teacher wouldn't be TRYING to hit the kids.

    The NRA has never said it should be mandatory a teacher be armed, just that those who volunteer, and are trained, should be allowed to do so. Even if no one in the school is actually carrying, there is no way a gunman would know that. Just the possibility makes schools a much less appealing target.

    April 2, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. Dave

    I viscerally despise the NRA.

    April 2, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. EdK

    OK. Good. Now we've armed our schools so that marginally trained people can have shootouts in the hallways. Next on the agenda: arm theater ushers so they can have shootouts in crowded theaters. Followed by arming shopping mall staff. Just so I understand: for purely deterrent purposes in every place where people congregate and are therefor likely targets for the next wacko, we will have someone (and probably many people) with a gun. This sounds like really great public policy. Sorry for the sarcasm but this situation defies reason.

    April 2, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Brian B Baker

    Because we need to have armed guards at schools like they do in the Middle East. The NRA's ideas are out of touch and if they did this at my kid's school I'd pull them out and home school them.

    April 2, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Henry

    Why is it that the NRA's answer is always more guns?

    April 2, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. Jeff

    How much do body guards get paid? Not sure this is a feasible option. How does the NRA propose to pay for their recommendations? Was that in the report? So schools are already cash strapped as it is but are fighting for every cent to go into education and now the NRA will probably want 1/5 of that money to go to armed teacher training...

    April 2, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. OregonTom

    First off I am not for any additional gun control laws. The idea of having firearms and tactical training as part of a educators education is ridiculous. Has the world gone mad? Why is it so difficult for people just not to go on a violent rampage?

    April 2, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. James Napoli

    the proposal is shear luncy

    April 2, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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