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. truth hurts, sometimes reality hurts more

    As a new father, I will teach my child how to defend themselves, physically and with other means. They will be taught how to properly handle and fire guns as soon as they are able. To do otherwise would be irresponsible and I would be shirking my duty as a parent to properly prepare them for survival in the world as it exists today. If any calamity would befall them, it would kill me to know they were ill prepared and I had not done my job as a parent to teach them how to at least try and survive.

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

    Washington (CNN) – September 13, 2013. Today marked the fifth school shooting in as many months since the NRA's "Safety Shield" or SS program went into effect. As with previous shooting, today's death was as a result of a student gaining posstession of one of the school's "protection" guns when a teacher left the gun cabinet unlocked. When asked if the program was not being effective, the NRA said that it merely needed to be expanded. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told reporters, supporters and a few vocal protesters, "The only thing that stop a fourth grader with a gun is another fourth grader with a gun." The NRA announced their plan for mandatory issuing of guns to all students in what they called "Student Super Safety Shield" or SSSS. GOP Congressman unanimously voted on legislation to simultaneously do everything the NRA asked (including in the future) while simultaneously cutting funding to teachers, policemen, and health care in order to pay for the "One AK Per Child" program.

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

    I think its pretty good idea. I graduated from public high school where they have 3 armed personnel. If you look at long history that most criminals do not run into armed scene.

    April 2, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. teach123

    Who is going to pay for it? No one. Another unfunded mandate for school districts. Typical politics – say you are addressing the problem, and then give zero support with moneys. This is how school funding usually operates.

    There are no statistics for x-fire shootings because it is extremely rare – stats would have no meaning. A school is not a city street. Can you imagine if the shooter in the movie theater was met by armed vigilantes in the dark and in the chaos? Who needs stats – use common sense.

    True paranoia lies in the NRA and people who have military style weapons/clips. Gotta protect your stuff from hordes of post-apocalyptic zombies, I guess.

    April 2, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. Al

    Just think that if ALL tax payer funded flights by ALL elected politicians were to be suspended for the next 3 years, that would pay the bill for the security.

    April 2, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. znhcats

    There will be more casualty if every one armed. Who can tells who is the first one to pull the trigger in a public place like school with hundreds of people? It's very easy for the shooter to mingle in the crowd afterwards.

    April 2, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. No one

    "Get an A or get a bullet"
    I suppose that's one way to deal with poor education.

    April 2, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. Jim B

    Sure, another "brilliant" NRA solution based on their "objective" study – Armed guards in all schools, so no need for any gun control and it increases demand to sell more guns! With solutions like this all the world's problems could be solved! Why doesn't the NRA propose that it cease to exist – maybe that would solve the problem!!!

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

    You people wait 8 minutes (national avarage) for the police to arrive at your house when you have an intruder.

    It will be the longest 8 minutes of your life if you survive.

    April 2, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. James in Houston

    Idiots! This is a simple statistical solution ... Which is the greater likelihood to involve a shooting? A community where everyone carries a gun or a community where nobody has a gun? Extrapolate from that!

    April 2, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. toydrum

    Thinking back on my on jr high and high school years, I can't imagine putting a gun in the hands of most of the teachers. Too many of them could have easily had the gun stripped from them by a student. Very few school teachers have the personality and reactions that would make this work. If they were that type of person, they would be in law enforcement, not teaching middle school.

    April 2, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Bobpitt

    I don't want my child in a classroom in the presence of a gun, If it comes to that I will be moving to a safer country..

    You don't have to say Buon Bogage, I won't let the door hit my behind..

    April 2, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. Kealia1974

    Actually, the red states have fewer educated individuals and lower paying jobs than blue states. Red states also have more people on welfare. Look it up. Here's a hint: Pew Research.

    April 2, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  14. dkc2001

    Wow...just when you thought those paranoid lying crazies couldn't get any worse, they want to arm teachers? LOL...good luck with that.

    April 2, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. Name lynn

    For what reason when the real shooter come in and starts shootng, the teacher an principle an the whole staff shoot each others.

    April 2, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. California Conservative


    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!
    Or maybe even from this administration. DUH!!!!!!!

    April 2, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  17. "Connecticut Effect"

    Has anyone asked the armed security guard at Columbine?

    Oh right, they shot him too.

    April 2, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. riceckr (Kris Robinson)

    Hey I know the water main burst, but what we are going to do is just require everyone to buy rain boots and not fix the water main. see how stupid that sounds?

    April 2, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. Brian

    Arming some select teachers is the only real method to protect the kids from a shooter. Everything else is window dressing. Why is a educated teacher who has proper training less trustworthy with a weapon than a police officer? Police officers are historically just as prone to character problems as anyone else, yet it is acceptable for them to carry on a school campus? Let the school districts decide.

    April 2, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. Daniel

    Texas has pretty liberal gun laws, and many people there have guns, but that didn't stop the recent murder of the two prosecutors there... What on earth is the NRA thinking? NRA=No Reasonable Answers!

    April 2, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  21. wrilson13

    So... In this sad day and age of NRA Gone Wild, if you are a youngster that wants to become a teacher it will be mandatory for you to learn to own and use a firearm. To be a teacher, according to the NRA (I.E. The Gun Manufacturers) you must be of their bad-ilk. I can see the number of future teachers dwindling by the day. Sheeesh, what idiots. Guns in schools? Are you kidding? Unfortunately, the NRA (I.E. The Gun Manufacturers) are not. I have no problem with a person's need to own a firearm (I do): as long as there are full background checks for EVERY firearm sold in EVERY situation.

    April 2, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. B


    an army of commies is the least of your problems.

    April 2, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "NRA-backed group wants gun training for school staff"

    NRA-backed group wants mandated government handouts to gun manufacturers/retailers for absurd school gun programs to replace the revenue lost by winding down of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and cuts to defense spending.


    April 2, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. ghostriter

    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.

    Nice sentiments. The SC also ruled that limitations can be placed on the 2nd amendment. Guess liberals did win that afterall.

    Having armed folks around didn't help Giffords, the AG in Texas (or AZ, I forget) or those in Columbine. None of these solutions are perfect. But your belief that we should just do nothing isn't right. And please lose the false equivalency argument of using a bomb instead of a gun. Gasoline was created to be a fuel source. Gun have one purpose. To kill. But to your point, we also regulate manure, nitro and other things.

    April 2, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Question

    Anyone watch the Voice last night? Fantastic show. No guns.

    April 2, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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