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. Proud to be Liberal

    So adding more lead spraying indisciminantly through the air will make the kids safer? While it is possible to extinguish a fire with fire, using water to extinguish the flames is far more effective and does fars less collateral damage. Violence to combat violence is not the answer as it will itself place the children in harms way. What is so wrong with preventing the violence in the first place?

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

    Such closed minded liberals on here. So much for trying new things.

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

    Is the NRA and its union members going to pay for arming and training teachers?

    April 2, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. Network

    Finally some sense in the world.

    April 2, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. California Conservative


    @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.
    Liberal stupidity is an epidemic apparently.

    April 2, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. John

    raenanda - please be quiet if you are going to assume that someone against an NRA idea is stupid and has no knowledge of guns. This is a forum for gun control and not a forum on the non workings of you mind.

    April 2, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. jboh

    Another "buy more guns" solution from the gun makers' million dollar/yr shill LaPierre. Shameful!

    April 2, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. just sayin

    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.

    well it is a darn good thing these people with no common sense are not doing anything important like teaching our young children!! and thanks to tenure, can't be fired.

    from the sounds of it, guns in the hands of teachers, or anybody else, are the least of the worries. our kids in the hands of teachers with no common sense is far more concerning to me.

    April 2, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. Tuza Baap

    If you are assigning armed person in every school, then why not every movie theater, every grocry store, every mall, every stadium, every church, and every public place. Where will it stop? Its a good business for gun manufacturers and ultimately for Gun Lobbysts and NRA. So, more campaign money to promote gun culture. Finally, what are we going to do with billion guns?? So, more exports to third world countries – spreading Gun Culture around the world.

    April 2, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Kealia1974

    Providing our children with armed protection in schools does not solve the problem. Its a multifaceted problem that begins with creating emotional stability to handle the stresses of life. There are a lot of unhinged individuals that were never taught to deal with their anger and frustrations when they were children. They were never taught accountability either. I believe that neglect and abuse are at the root of the problem. Mental illness is also a core issue that needs to be addressed.

    April 2, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Louise Newton

    Hi Louise – this just came out this morning – if you have a chance, forward on to Gary – hard to believe how extreme these gun lovers are...Bill

    April 2, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. sqeptiq

    Remember "Men in Black" when the gun nut farmer said, "you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead hands," and the alien said, "your offer is acceptable." Something similar will happen to most gun nuts if they are ever confronted with a real predator looking to kill.

    April 2, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. This is a Joke, Right?

    Absolutely ridiculous...School systems can't afford books, PE classes and to pay teachers.....So how are they going to afford to pay armed resource officers? Let me guess the NRA or another Lobby group will subcontract out this workforce to make money....kind of like Haliburton?.......Just make this School Shield a new Government org and let Dick Cheney oversee it...he has history of shooting people...and making money for his buddies.

    April 2, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. SixFeetUnder

    I object to the requirement that all of the guards pass a background check. Why should we treat law abiding security guards as criminals?

    April 2, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. rs

    California Conservative

    rs – You mean like the Mexican drug cartel? YEAH RIGHT
    Hello? Anybody home? How do you think they get their arms? From shady gun dealers, straw buyers and theft. Figure it out!

    April 2, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Marie MD

    Just what we need more of in this country. A bunch of gun crazies making, no, demanding that teachers are armed. Not everybody is gun happy or would like to learn how to use a gun!!!
    If I was a no I don't want a gun near me I would love to tell these fools what they can do with their guns and where they can shove them!
    Is making money out of gun sales more important? Never mind, we know the answer od the nra and their crazy leaders. How dare them!!!

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

    This should be tested at Private Schools first. Then, when proven safe and we can see how many of the Private Schools, parents, teachers and students are comfortable with have armed people on school grounds; maybe taxpayers can take a look at this to see if we should foot the bill. Otherwise, let the NRA offer this to private school and let the NRA pay for the training, weapons, and liability insurance for having weapons around children. Let's see how many of the Private Schools have a hard time getting insured under this program.

    April 2, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  18. ghostriter

    Rudy NYC


    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.

    Exactly. Unless the gun makers are supplying the black market. But seriously, registration would pretty much end that. If a gun is found in a murder, whoever it is last traced to gets a free 10 year vacation.

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

    Are these people serious? If the NRA isn't domestic terrorism, then no such thing even exists.

    They scare the hell out of everyone. Wayne LaPenis = Kim Jung Un: Scare the hell out of the people and do to them whatever you want. LaPenis should change his name to Hitler. It's really who he resembles most.

    April 2, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. MaryM

    Did the NRA bother ask the all the teachers, Principals, Superintendents of all the Schools in the U.S. what THEY want.

    April 2, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    "saying what must be said" wrote:

    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.
    Liberals didn't "lose that argument". That's the slippery slope argument that paranoid gun owners have with one another.

    The way to prevent what happened in CT is hold "law abiding citizens" responsible for who they grant access to their weapons. Problem solved. His own mother taught him how to kill and gave him the means to do so.

    April 2, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. BeverlyNC

    Another extremist message from the NRA. Why is any member of Congress afraid of this group?? They are totally out of touch with 90% of Americans – Democrats, Republicans, and even responsible gun owners. Legislators should be more afraid of We the People who will vote out any legislator who is unwilling to stand up for common sense gun laws to protect society. NRA gets money to spread around from the gun manufacturers but we VOTE and we and our principles cannot be bought. We will get rid of any legislator who will not endorse simple gun control measures.

    April 2, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. anthony rienzo

    As if we don't already have enough people carrying guns, we're going to permit them into schools now! That's just what we need; make it easier for a terrorist to get their hands on a school staff gun and go free fire on the students! Smart thinking!

    April 2, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  24. Reed Spinster

    WoW...that's such a great idea!!! While we are at it about you propose a program in which instead of a student giving a teacher an apple he or she hands in a phosphorous granade!!! come thier anwer to everything is an extreme approach to safety that includes arming yourself as if you were The Terminator? ...I can't imagine kicking up any other problem of self control & safety the same way..."So you are addicted to cocaine?? Well..I got the cure for that!!!..instead of minimizing your dozage all together...try to do 8balls every hour!!! You're not a junkie with a problem you are a person fighting for your freedom to do something you love to an extreme!!" hahahaha...these loosers at the NRA won't rest until a teacher goes nuts & does something very stupid to some students...& even then Im sure their solution would be to send our kids to school wearing kevler & bullet proof vests...morons!

    April 2, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Darrell

    Obama is a Croatian drug lord. You heard it here first.

    April 2, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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