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. rs

    The NRA needs to simply be classified as a terrorist organization. It would easily be proved as they work to ensure ANYBODY can buy guns- including criminals, terrorists and the insane because they are against sane, reasonable things like background checks. By absolutely denying licensing, insurance and registration- they pretty much are a terrorist's dream.
    I'd say send this clown to Gitmo with La Pierre and any Republican stooge that carries their water. 90% of Americans want gun control/background checks.

    April 2, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "I don't want my child in a classroom in the presence of a gun"

    The vast majority of Americans don't either. Thus, they are also trying to use this to empty classrooms and force homeschooling OR make their school voucher program nonsense seem more palatable.

    April 2, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. jyves95

    Coming up... A new AR15 for toddlers... so they can start and shoot anybody who want to revoke their right to kill people in the playground.. errr.. bear weapons against evil governments...

    April 2, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. ironman59

    Since the majority of nra members also identify as gop supporters there is just one simple question. Exactly how does all of this equate to smaller government and less government spending? Unless the nra and it's members are going to cover 100% of all costs (training, salary, benefits, materials) then they simply need to stay out of the issue. It is nothing but more double talk from the far right. They scream less government until it is one of the core social or strategic issues then it's legislate the daylights out of it. The nra just needs to crawl back under it's rock.

    April 2, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. johnjo101

    Let's not forget we also need to arm and train all the kids that work at the movie theaters. We also need to arm and train all the people that go to work every day in a office with more than two people. Let's not forget we need to arm and train all the waiters and waitresses at Children's fun centers. Of utmost concern as well is to arm and train all the employees at Children's Day Care Centers. Let's not forget we need to arm and train the lifeguards at swimming pools around the country. What about sporting events, we should arm and train all the ushers there too. We just don't have enough armed and trained people out there, that's all there is to it.

    April 2, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. Rembrant

    ..and who will pay for all this training, arms, etc? The NRA? The Department of Education? The State? MY tax dollars? I dont even have kids in school or support guns in any way.
    Furthermore I cannot see my former elementary school teachers teaching simple math wearing a holster and loaded gun.What are we telling our kids here? The NRA is just a bunch of sicko whackjobs, and so is anyone supporting them. I'd gladly give up my right to bear arms for a little sanity around here.

    April 2, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Thomas

    The NRA and the GOP would rather teachers learn to use firearms and cut the Art's , Physical Education , History and Science.

    We need less guns and more basic education . Dose the NRA support the Taliban's right to carry a consoled weapon ?

    April 2, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. rs

    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!!!!!!!
    Well, CC- go ahead and start shooting at the Administration. Be sure and let us know how that turns out for you eh? You make a GREAT argument for restricting guns with your statements.

    April 2, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Who is going to pay for it? No one."

    Nah. This is different. If you mandate teaching certain aspects of science or math, the GOP/Teatrolls will make sure it will end up unfunded. if you mandate that municipalities and school districts buy thousands upon thousands of guns from the people who control the NRA, the GOP/Teatrolls will make sure it actually gets the money out.

    April 2, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. just askin

    if armed guards at schools is a dumb idea that can't work then maybe we should force the thousands of schools that already have them to get rid of them? obviously the liberals think it is a waste of money and dangerous and we know they are always right about everything.

    April 2, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. "Connecticut Effect"

    Bad analogy Kris:

    Humans can not live without water. They can EASILY live without guns.

    April 2, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Tuza Baap

    Why don't we charge every bullet $1,000/pop? Tax the hell out of every bullet sold and let them have high capacity magazines – even 1000 rounds per clip. But, each bullet will cost $1,000. Our deficit problem solved!!!

    April 2, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. qwertyuiop

    Knowing how kids are nowadays, and also the pressures of being a teacher/educator, the last person I'd want with a gun around a kid is his teacher/principal. They are way too stressed and the kids are way too crazy for teachers to be having guns.

    April 2, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. Evelyn Connaway

    At 86, I have always owned guns for the proper use. But when organizations like the NRA and weapons manufacturers start running our country, along with warmongering politicians, it's time we got rid of all of them. By shooting them with the guns they are getting rich off – commonsense citizens not buying their products – since they want work with the government to put a curb on certain types of guns, background checks, etc., Maybe a revolution against all of them is next. We already have guns laws on the books, but no one enforces them. Our military has enough weapons in stock should not use our taxpayer money to by more from the manufacturers. All military type weapons in civilian hands should be destroyed. Asa Hutchinson and the NRA are not a part of our elected government and the politicians that work with them should not be re-elected! Citizens have always been able to own weapons if they have no criminal background, but if they do, on their own property and for the proper use, that is stated in our laws. The next group we need to get rid of is lobbyist for corporations, any and all, even religious organizations. We are supposed to elect honorable, honest and ethical men/women to represent the country and it's citizens, not power hungry, corrupt and greedy people. Money is the root of all evil and has become the power at the voting booth for the citizens than can be bought due to greed and ignorance. And ignorance is a unlimited natural resource in the USA – look at how many of these politicians with all these terrible qualities keep getting elected and re-elected every year!!! Let's stop doing it in 2014 and continue the clean up act each year until we can say we are proud of the politicians who represent us. That is the only way it will get done. If we the people didn't elect them after careful thought, they have no place in running our government. NO NRA, Chamber of Commerce, Grover Norquist, Lobbyists from all corporations, Banks or Wall Street. Let's clean the halls of Congress once and for all.

    April 2, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    The NRA argument is designed to sell millions and millions more weapons. It appeals to the right wing's moral senses: "defense, no matter what the cost".

    I have a better idea for those who want their kids attending schools withni armed fortresses and bunkers. HOME SCHOOLING

    April 2, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. jlara1984

    I never comment on things. However, I am sick of hearing the NRA push this "arm school staff" idea. The school where my child attends has a police officer who works there, and his gun is the only gun I find acceptable to be on campus. I do not want ANYONE other than him carrying one. I can see it now- teacher looks away, is busy, or just down right irresponsible in a moment. Then a child with issues grabs it away from her/him. Then what NRA? The gun is already in class, with classmates all around. All that is left for the kid to do is start shooting. To me it's not about cost, it's about putting DAMGEROUS weapons too close to little hands in order to "protect" them from other DANGEROUS weapons that may or may not be coming to a school near me. I think the odds of the scenario I've mentioned are far more likely than a psychopath rampaging anywhere. I'm sorry for people who like this idea, but I just don't.

    April 2, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. brandonreevey

    This is dumb. I'm tired of these people that choose to live in fear thinking up asinine solutions to problems. More guns = more chance for some thing to go wrong. Idiots. Stop being sheep and think for yourself.

    April 2, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. Bobert

    "So I am an armed teacher and receive a report that there is an armed person in the school and we have a shoot out-and it is the parent of one of the children-In the shoot out I accidently hit and kill 3 students-who is paying for my murder trial ???because that is what would happen"
    If you've ever had any training you would know to look past your target to see if it's safe to shoot. Let's ignore the 40-60 hours of training and use hyperbole to make a point.
    "Gun owners should pay for this just like how they increase my car insurance/registration/smog fees for vehicle related problems." Let me guess you want healthcare, but don't want to pay for it either.
    "I can't be the only one who sees that his "idea" is obviously treating only the symptoms" What do you propose we do? Arrest people we think will commit a crime? Ban all guns because criminals wil give them all up if they are illegal? Guns are illegal in Chicago, but it's not doing anything to lower crime
    "Guns are NOT the answer, LOVE IS." What's your plan to force everyone to love each other?
    "And after we arm the schools then what, the hospitals, churchs, movie theaters, ... everybody!!! We end up back in 1873." That's hyperbole isn't it? What would you do to protect the schools? More "no gun" signs? Why would a criminal commit a crime while the police is near by? You are on your own if someone wants to hurt you.
    "This is absolutely outrageous! What's needed is more resources for the mentally ill–more programs so that schools can pinpoint who needs help–and make sure that they are not isolated! Also, background checks....we can't make getting guns as easy as purchasing bubblegum–also make people pay insurance on those guns–(cars have to)-this way we can afford the programs for the mentally ill" Nothing you have proposed would have stopped Newtown. The gun(s) used in Newtown where not bought by the person who used them. Why ignore all the other violent crimes going on in the US and just focus on one incident?

    April 2, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. just sayin

    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?

    liberal solution: live is a desert. water is too dangerous to be around.

    April 2, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "I would be shirking my duty as a parent to properly prepare them for survival in the world as it exists today"

    Millions and millions and millions of people go through life perfectlyk safe without ever having fired a gun or even held one. Only a very very tiny tiny fraction of the populace ever finds itself in a situation in which they would have benefitted from the experience and having a gun on them. We're talking MINISCULE fraction. This "the world as it exists today" nonsense just shows you really don't live in the same world/reality as the rest of us.

    April 2, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. Steve S

    Everything that comes out of NRA headquarters, advocates the arming of American citizens to the teeth!?

    I'm surprised Moses (Charlton Heston), didn't come down from Mount Sinai carrying ten AK-47s........

    April 2, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. S. Steffee

    I would park a tank in front of my kids school if it meant my kids were safe at school. Why is there evan a debate over this, these are our children, our future.

    April 2, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. rs

    NRA- "Arming terrorists for 50 years" . It has a catchy ring, I think.

    April 2, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. Hans Solo

    I have a bad feeling about this.

    April 2, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  25. Cnnmembuh

    I'm not a gun nut, but what would those who are so adamantly opposed to this suggest as an alternative? And don't say stricter gun laws because that genie is so far out of that bottle as to never return. Someone suggested you can't advocate more violence to combat violence. While I wish we could just "talk nice" and get these perpetrators to politely back off, let's be realistic, as we have a solemn duty to protect our kids and their teachers. What do the teachers themselves have to say on the topic?

    April 2, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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