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. Terry

    Since Newtown, how many schoolteachers do you think have already taken steps to receive training and arm themselves?

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

    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.
    Yeah! That put THEM in their place. JS- every hear of Arizona? Dolt!

    April 2, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Iraq war ending.
    Afghanistan almost over completely.
    DOD experiencing spending cuts.

    Bottom line: Manufacturers/Retailers are trying to tap into a "new market" to replace expected losses. Except it's not a "new market." It's the same market: the gov't. They want the gov't to keep giving them money at the same levels it has been, and there won't be the wars, etc., to justify it anymore, so they've invented this new whackadoodle gameplan of demanding that schools be turned into armed citadels to justify continuing to suck at the gov't teat. It's that simple.

    April 2, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. rs


    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.
    Educate, license, background check, insurance. As to the last one- they were able to do that in Australia- we can here.

    April 2, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. anthony rienzo

    S. Steffeem

    You are an idiot and an imbecile who has really bad point of view and it's poorly supported at that, and I am only 15. There is a debate because of our children's safety; how can you not see that by giving a teacher a firearm, you expose your child to more firearms than they should have to. Furthermore, someone could easily pickpocket one of the guns from storage / teacher's desk and then you have more possible shootings. Why can't NRA do something smart like fix the issue of people being able to get into schools with a gun in the first place?

    April 2, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. f ray


    sounds like the same old same old NRA. the ONLY solution is more guns and that results in more coffins. good luck following the NRA's recommendation into madness.

    April 2, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. RobThomas

    Who's going to pay for it? And who's going to teach the children in the classrooms while the teachers themselves are off at the shooting range playing Dirty Hairy?

    April 2, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. B-Man

    Soooo bring more guns into school. That's the solution? Reallly?! How about no guns. No guns=no guns in school. Simple!

    April 2, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. sherry from Arkansas

    Dumbest idea for teachers yet. I thought we were supposed to be teaching & not playing cops. I, for one, would NEVER want to have a gun in my classroom – I AM A TEACHER.

    April 2, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. rs


    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.
    Exactly- and that is why we must stop talking nice to the kooks at the NRA- and crush them!

    April 2, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. anonymous

    what kind of a fool would believe that this is a good idea?

    April 2, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

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

    Our guns are locked up in a safe. (We have grandchildren under the age of 10 ... the youngest being 3). It would take longer than 8 minutes for me to get to the gun safe, open it, and aim and fire at an intruder (arthritis, you understand) ... who one assumes will be following me to the gun safe. So, yeah. Guess I'm doomed no matter how you look at it. Eight minutes or not.

    My other alternative? Leave loaded guns around the house and hope the little ones never find them. And, you know ... I'm going to have to pass on THAT scenario.

    April 2, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. rs

    BTW- as someone who works in education- they day I have to go to work with a gun is the day I retire. That isn't education or safety you advocate- it is chaos.

    April 2, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. Malory Archer


    If you've ever had any training you would know to look past your target to see if it's safe to shoot.


    You don't have such a luxury as "looking past your target to see if it's safe to shoot" when you're in a heat of the moment situation. Ask the cops who shot up a bunch of innocent bystanders outside the Empire State building last year while trying to stop the "bad guy" with a gun.

    April 2, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  15. Han Solo

    I think the teacher would get more respect if she carried a blaster. Nothing deters an unruly student like the site of an iron hanging off a teachers side.

    April 2, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. NeedMoreJobs

    We need gun towers in school and a abraham tank if possible. That will both create jobs in the defense industry and gun industry. Not to mention ensure that when the aliens invade, our schools will be ready to response! amen

    April 2, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. Dave N

    Plain and simple, allow law abiding teachers to conceal and carry. It is a deterrent that is hidden, makes future murderers think twice, and it costs tax payers nothing. If you don't trust the teachers not to shoot the whole class because they have a case of the Monday's why the hell do you allow your children to even be taught and supervised them anyways?

    April 2, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. California Conservative

    I can live my own life. I don't need the government living it for me like democrats do.

    Have a Nice Day!!!

    April 2, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. rdmcabee

    Make guns available incredibly cheap for everyone. We can walk this back. It might be difficult but disarming everyone is the only solution.

    Guns in the home shoot guests or people living in the home 9 times more often than an intruder.
    If your mugged and you have a gun you are much more likely to die in the mugging. Guns protecting people is an outlier. 10,000 gun murders a year is the rule in the U.S. We are making all of our policies to service the outlier. Lunacy.

    April 2, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. Laura

    How come when the president has family members present, they're 'photo ops' or 'props' but when the NRA does it, they're 'special guests'?

    And who is going to pay for all of this training and all of these weapons? Not to mention the liability insurance these schools had better be carrying for when the inevitable happens and some kid or innocent bystander gets shot accidentially.

    Are the republicans going to back THIS tax increase?

    April 2, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Jesse from Berlin

    What next? arming doctors and nurses?. What about arming employers in the cases of disgruntled employees...

    April 2, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  22. Total2199

    NBA's March madness is over, now is a time for NRA's April madness

    April 2, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. 60minuteman

    The NRA's answer to too much gun violence ? Of course, more guns....

    April 2, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  24. National

    The NRA are desperate and pathetic. Arm our teachers? This is their solution? Instead of restricting weapons designed for the battlefield, they want to have teachers possibly involved in shootouts with psychopaths carrying assault rifles? Please tell me the sane people in this country are laughing at this utter nonsense.

    April 2, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. Carolyn

    Since Newtown, how many schoolteachers do you think have already taken steps to receive training and arm themselves?
    I am betting a lot more than you might think. The next crazy who tries to commit a mass murder at a school may be in for a big surprise.

    April 2, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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