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. ed

    NRA = The BROWN SHIRTS – Returtn

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

    California Conservative

    It's obvious there's a major breakdown in our society on an ethical and moral standpoint. Shock societies can't survive.
    My point exactly about the NRA- they are radical, anti-American extremists who support arming criminals and terrorists.

    April 2, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. JY

    The NRA is a business, the business of promoting and selling guns. Manufacturers and sellers (legally and illegally) thrive off the hype created by this debate. Everytime there is a massacre of innocents the one side says ban or control, the other side says 2nd amendment. The manufactures and sellers and the NRA profit.
    You tell me what the game is.

    April 2, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. Name Uche Agonsi

    NRA plan sounds like something from the anus, instead of head, with so much unanswered questions......
    Congressman Asa talked only of Newtown massacre, he did not say about gun massacres that are not like Newtown, but involve both kids & adults. Also, if good guy with gun stops bad guy with gun, NRA does not foresee a situation where the gun would turn the good guy into bad guy . Then there are the questions of turning a civil society school in military garrisson just to protect the kids .....then the source of funding the program ....& of course how the program benefits NRA members . People sure can say or do anything for money...but for a big Association like NRA to suggest obliterating the entire civil society in America for self-fish purpose leaves a lot to be desired.

    April 2, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. bwh31

    I am a teacher, and also have a Concealed Carry permit. I frequently practice, and would feel comfortable being trained to carry at school. However I know FAR more teachers that have no business carrying a weapon. They don't have enough common sense to know how to handle it. I just can't see this being the best solution out there. Teachers should focus on teaching, not packing weapons around.

    April 2, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. JY

    The NRA is a business, the business of promoting and selling guns. Manufacturers and sellers (legally and illegally) thrive off the hype created by this debate. Everytime there is a massacre of innocents the one side says ban or control, the other side says 2nd amendment. The manufactures and sellers and the NRA profit.
    You tell me what the game is.


    April 2, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. rs


    Sad to see you folks who put more importance and security on your money than on your children. You should be ashamed.
    Sad to see you folks put more money into the weapons industry than common sense reforms to reduce firearm deaths.

    April 2, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. raenanda

    People against guns should learn what guns can and cannot do. If all you know about guns is what you've learned on TV, then maybe you just might be a tad misinformed? Do you know what an "assault weapon" is? Do you know the difference between a "clip" and a "magazine"? Do you know what "armor piercing" rounds can and cannot do? Do you know what can and cannot "kill a deer"? Do you know how many times NYPD hits their target when they shoot at a perpetrator? Do you know not all people that are shot go down? Did you know that criminals sometimes attack in groups? Did you know guns can easily be made safe? Did you know its not rocket science to determine what exactly a gun does and does not do? Etc. Etc.

    April 2, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Mr. Obvious

    Great, what a brilliant test. Let's lay a gun in the teachers desk and make the teacher leave the room with a bunch of first graders in it. Really? I don't think the NRA is suggesting that we lay a gun in every teacher's desk. Anyone who is designated to carry a firearm would have the firearm on them at all times.

    April 2, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. Jerrod

    Arm School Officals....Not only are some having relations with a student, give them a gun too. Makes no sense. I think the NRA play with there guns way to much. What most want is a ban on weapons that they shouldn't have. Military and Security Officals should be the only ones allowed to carry those weapons. Why not National Guard, Reserves, Retirees, and Active Duty. There already trained, it's free. My 6 year old came up with those ideas and NRA came up with arm and train our sch

    April 2, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Tuza Baap

    Some folks in this country are so obsessed about guns that they prefer to abandon their kids in lieu of guns. Fascists organizations like NRA spread so much of scare tactics that these crazy gun wielding nuts actually believe that they can defend from government taking over their guns. If these right wingers don't trust their government, why don't they pack up and leave this country. Actually there is a better solution-let all the crazy Red States joiin Texas and form their own nation. At least Blue states don't have to support them with wefare money.

    April 2, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. JY

    Tax the NRA, the manufacturers and the sellers for every transaction to pay for this plan. Then I am for it.

    April 2, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Quixote

    Imagine that nice little lady teaching your second grader, packing heat. Or imagine that scary wierd gym teacher with a glock innhis desk.....or the freaky math teacher that is 5'4" and has a Napoleon complex with a semi auto in the closet.....

    Jeeneus from our delusional friends in the weapons cartel.

    April 2, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. raenanda

    If I don't "need" a gun, you don't "need" gay marriage. Want to make that self-determination, free-choice argument and not sound like a hypocrite? Go right ahead.

    April 2, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. Tony D

    It is very clear that the Democrats and far left liberal loons want to eliminate the 2nd amendment and ban and confiscate all guns in this country. Only then will be totally safe and protected by a benevolent government and the benevolent people that run it like Bloomberg and Obama. And if they can't, oh well, so sorry, you're dead. They will promise to try and do better next time. Meanwhile, you remain dead.

    April 2, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. Bob

    The stupid never stops with right wing gun nut rambo wannabee punks.

    April 2, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. kosazan

    They are insane. Or are they? Maybe what we call insane because it goes against all that we hold to be a normal response to societal needs is really just the NRA keeping the NRA relevant. Greed, power hunger and malevolence. its sick and they are evil. sadly the politicians are their slaves, pathetic.

    April 2, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. NSL

    The NRA is unbelievable. Thank goodness when Heston became their president I came to my senses and turned in my membership. They had been a sponsor of sanity and guns, of safe handling, and reasonable laws, but that came to a screeching halt when it became a tool of weapon's manufacturers, militia extremists, and American anarchists.

    Their answer to too many guns being toted around by too many criminals and too many mentally ill people, and too many domestic hotheads is to arm even more people including criminals, the mentally ill and others who shouldn't have guns, by arming everyone who can possibly hold a gun, and refusing to support background checks prior to all gun sales.

    April 2, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. TheRational

    We don't need teachers and administrators strapped the entire time they are on campus. But there is nothing wrong with having them trained and having access to guns. They can be in lockboxes, that can either be setup to only open when a lockdown is triggered, or monitored when opened. The best way to prevent school shootings, is to first, make them secure. Doors that lock and can only be opened from the inside, doors that can withstand bullets. Also separate unsecure zones where visitors enter.

    April 2, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. ChrisIA

    "Gun control seems to work alright for other modern nations, so why not the U.S.? Hmmm maybe we could learn a thing or two from other countries, but no conservatives are too thick skulled for that nonsense."

    Yes, it did a fantastic job in Oslo Norway and Cologne Germany. It also worked great in Poland in the 1930s. Connecticuit also had gun control. Nancy Lanza's guns were bought legally, went through background checks, and were registered with the state. It's time to try something different than the same rhetoric spouted by anti gun politicians like McCarthay and Feinstein who have personal grudges and use massacres to further political agendas already in motion and call them "common sense responses".

    April 2, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Bob

    California Conservative

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


    Eat THIS.

    April 2, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. John M

    I think it's wonderful that the NRA has decided to completely fund the purchase of weapons and ammunition for the hundreds of thousands of teachers and administrators in United States schools. I commend them for offering free training and range time to those folks. I'm sure the NRA members won't mind the increase in dues that will accompany this brilliant and forward thinking plan.

    April 2, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. raenanda

    "Train and arm school staff". Geez, its just not that complicated guys, really. Don't pull that thingy called the trigger at anybody and no one will die. Aim only at the bad guy. OK?

    April 2, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. T

    ..........Remember Steve Martin playing banjo with an arrow through his head.?????..................Well, Steve retired, and the NRA ...................TOOK HIS PLACE...............

    April 2, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    And let me guess ... this "safety" program would be exempt from budget cuts, right?

    Riiiiight ....

    April 2, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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