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. Lynda/Minnesota


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

    What are the chances that all 88,000 (or whatever the correct figure is) school districts are going to be hit by gunmen hoping to shoot up our children? The expense would be enormous ... courtesy of the NRA and it's lobbyists ... for what can only be a short term fix.

    Oh, and BTW. Take your NRA produced fear of the "unkown" and ... well, you know what you can do with it.

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

    Guns don't kill people. Bullets kill people.

    April 2, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. RCM

    This is one very stupid idea.

    April 2, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. JY

    Oh, Also have the NRA, manufacturers and sellers and trainers take liability when a trained school official goes 'postal'

    April 2, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC


    intel345, if there is a messed up teacher, what makes you think they can't get a gun on the black market anyway?
    What is this "black market" the the "no background check" crowd keeps talking about? I ask because somewhere at the beginning of that chain of custody there is one of your "law abiding citizens" purchasing the weapons to sell on your "black market." Since, the criminals can't make the legal purchases, so obviously it has to begin with someone who can.

    April 2, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. wrilson13

    So... In this day and age of NRA Gone Wild, in order to be a teacher in their world you have to be a Gun Nut. Some more forward asinine thinking from the NRA: THE gun manufacturers. Sheeesh......

    April 2, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. Chanel

    Schools can no longer afford to pay their teachers, parents are required to purchase standard school supplies along with necessary soap, paper towels and other items the teachers are no longer reimbursed for but need for their students. Will we now have to purchase ammo for them also?
    We can't afford to pay a teacher, but the teacher is expected to take fire arms training, pay for a concealed gun permit and a background check?

    April 2, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Edward

    The republicans are the party of stupid and the NRA is the organization of stupid. What a dumb marriage.

    April 2, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. Glenn Arnold

    Great idea! Let's arm everyone. The more guns the better. Remember all of my mentally deficient friends,
    "it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun" Yeee freekin Haw!

    April 2, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. John

    Do you really think that the person that wants to kill children but now can't do it in a school will say "Oh well, I'll go home and read a good book"? No, will find another way. Why is it that I can go into a store and buy ammo without any checks at all?

    April 2, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

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

    Not all teachers will want to be trained; do you have a problem with forcing them to?

    And if they are all trained, then they'd all have to be packing all the time they're at school, right?

    And yet this is still no guarantee that they could take down a shooter. Or if they were to try, they wouldn't harm/kill others in the process.

    You gun nuts live in a fantasyland ... YOU should be ashamed.

    April 2, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    Where are all the right-wingers complaining about the NRA special interest controlling Washington?


    April 2, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  13. kosazan

    They just don't get it, how else do you explain something at least 80 percent of voters in Ron Paul and Marco Rubio’s districts favor the checks for potential gun buyers, but these two are among the NRA lackies who are threatening a filibuster. Democracy means you represent the people, and I don't mean as in "corporations are people".

    April 2, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. dave in dallas

    what a bunch of freaking nuts.

    April 2, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. saying what must be said

    Look, there are millions of crazy people in this country and we cannot and will not lock them all up. There are also hundreds of millions of guns and you cannot ban them all and confiscate them all. The USSC has ruled it is an individual right to keep and bear arms. Liberals have lost that argument.

    So I suggest that liberals either get moving on repealing the 2nd amendment, or get moving on locking up the millions of crazy people because those are the answers. Short of that, you will NEVER be able to prevent what happened in Conn. And even then, had Adam Lanza decided to lug 10 gallons of gasoline and a match into the school and set it off, nothing would have prevented him and many would have died as well. You going to ban gasoline next?

    The goal you seek is a pipe dream, totally unrealistic and unachieveable in the real world. Life is not guaranteed here or any place else on the planet. We all do the best we can to survive each day. Some do not make it. Welcome to reality.

    April 2, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. CedarRapids

    When you get to the point that you seriously suggest arming school teachers, just come straight out and admit that US society has failed.

    April 2, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. Saysome

    Teachers armed with guns ... it does not sound like a civilized society...

    April 2, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. California Conservative

    rs – You mean like the Mexican drug cartel? YEAH RIGHT

    April 2, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. sooper

    Whose side is the NRA on? I seriously doubt they are on the member's side. Training school staff does not solve the underlying problem. Training school staff and arming them boosts gun sales, which help the gun manufacturers. Aside from that, but along the same topic, if a deranged person wanted to go into a school and kill people, then a deranged person will go into a school and kill people – guns or no guns. We need better mental illness treatment and follow-up, not more laws restricting what we can/cannot do and have.

    April 2, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  20. Rchmd2012

    This is the dumbest damn thing I have ever heard. The US is 1/1000 of a step away from having NRA endorsed people armed with assult weapons standing on every street corner and in every store allegedly to protect the innocent. Seems to me NRA is a semi-terrorist organization.

    April 2, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  21. jamesbrummel

    Wow that will sure generate a lot of business for NRA members, while back ground checks and other controls will reduce it. What a coincidence. And let's just throw more guns out there. Arm everyone.

    April 2, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  22. sqeptiq

    @california conservative- after reading all of your comments, I'm not surprised there are so few california conservatives. Most intelligent people would be ashamed to associate with you.

    April 2, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. California Conservative

    "I'd feel sorry for democrats if they weren't so stupid" ~JG

    April 2, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Irene

    Sad to see you folks would rather put more money into dispensing killing machines for all rather than investing it in programs for mental health and trying to actually curb killings!

    April 2, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. ghostriter

    raenanda, legislating behavior has not nor even been the reason for laws. People are going to break laws. So why have any laws then?

    Laws are created to bring and keep order. I really wish this issue didn't devolve into this mythical hypothetical situation conservatives are trying to create. Sorry, but we legislate everything, even rights. Unless you are ready to fight for the gun rights of convicted violent felons, you are being hypocritical.

    It would be nice if you guys were as concerned about voting rights being attack last november. Or any other time that folks' rights were actually in danger.

    April 2, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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