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. Total2199

    I do not believe that my comment like "NBA's March madness is over, now is a time for NRA's April madness" requires moderation. What a bunch of BS these moderators...

    April 2, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. mattski

    The only problem is, how soon before a student overpowers an armed teacher and takes his/her gun away? If you have a gun, and everyone knows you have it, someone might try to take it. So, do we only arm the teachers who are large enough and strong enough to defend that gun? What about small, frail teachers? What about old teachers?

    April 2, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Dave N

    Why does it cost tax payers to enact this? It doesn't cost tax payers anything. Just allow teachers to receive training and conceal and carry. Its not a mandate, but they can use their own money to do so if they so please. What is wrong with block heads on here, why is this so bad? Teachers are trusted with our children anyways.

    April 2, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. California Conservative

    Dems name calling. It always comes down to that.

    How profound democrats.

    April 2, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  5. Tuza Baap

    Mr. Steffee, why settle on tank? Why not something big? May be 100 commandos with grenade launcher? Or, a fleet of F-35 ready to launch an attack?? Fire teachers and hire commandos.

    April 2, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. notaposter

    This idea makes sense. Some people are just close-minded

    April 2, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. ghostriter

    Bobert, what you and the NRA are proposing is to basically give some teachers a weekend retreat and a paintball ranch and send them off to guard children with guns. IF this is your suggestion, it would make sense to give them the exact same training as security/police have and regularly. Your assertion about "free" heathcare is yet another conservative false equivalency situation. You are already paying for others HC. But if you didn't get that in the past 4 years of debate, you won't get it now.

    April 2, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Carolyn

    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?
    Some people find the concept of fighting back and defending yourself to be repulsive. I call that trait to be cowardice of the highest order.

    April 2, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. charles Gannon

    A Background check !!! Should not anyone who is around school children already have had a check done on them ?

    April 2, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. sad4willis

    Given this line of thinking, we can't just stop with the faculty assigned to the students while they are in the school building. We must also include the crossing guards, the school bus drivers, the sports coaches, the field trip teachers, and so on. Someone intent on shooting children will discover the weak link in our strongest suit of armor and find a way to still cause mayhem. In the meantime, the arms manufacturers reap the rewards in increased sales.

    April 2, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. ghostriter

    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.

    Quite funny. On one hand, you guys say that these crazy folk will use any means necessary to do these things so gun laws won't work.....but they aren't crazy enough to not care is someone is packing in the school?

    You do realize that you sound as crazy as the crazies you talk about.....right?

    April 2, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  12. t.marino

    Unfortunately I don't think it gets any creepier or sicker than this. Next we will be arming the children. Gunfight at Public School #89 over a jealous girlfriend. Lovely plan.....

    April 2, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  13. Too Much

    So when that teacher gets picked off by the crazed student or intruder what happens next? We arm all teachers? Where does it end. What a pathetic response to a serious problem. Thanks for trying to line your pocket NRA.

    April 2, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. rs

    Dave N

    Why does it cost tax payers to enact this? It doesn't cost tax payers anything. Just allow teachers to receive training and conceal and carry. Its not a mandate, but they can use their own money to do so if they so please. What is wrong with block heads on here, why is this so bad? Teachers are trusted with our children anyways.
    Oh, I dunno, maybe that the NRA, rather than actually dealing with the problems wants everyone, everywhere to be armed- otherwise its a great idea- what if these so-called "conservatives" dealth with other social ills the same way? Poverty? Money for everyone! Healthcare? free healthcare for everyone? Get it now?

    April 2, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  15. Michael

    Why, as a gun owner, I don't belong to the NRA although I still get all their wacky email.
    LaPierre is loony.

    April 2, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. ghostriter

    Carolyn, maybe some folk like to handle a problem before it comes down to protecting yourself. I would call what you suggest lunacy of the highest order.

    And I do teach. We have an armed guard there. Paid for by the school. Perfectly fine with that. I estimate the cost of doing this to be around a billion dollars a year. When can we expect your contribution?

    April 2, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. Joe

    This is stupid. What's next – armed "guards" at McDonald's, Jack in the Box, etc? The United States is *not* a third world country and that's what some fast food places in the Philippines I've seen have.

    April 2, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. rs

    Dave N

    Why does it cost tax payers to enact this? It doesn't cost tax payers anything. Just allow teachers to receive training and conceal and carry.
    Sure, teachers (who already have to buy classroom supplies) are going to go out and buy guns (what, just so gun makers can keep be profitable after the GOP's two wars)?
    Get real. You want cops in a classromm- GET A COP!

    April 2, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. chisom

    Who exactly is going to pay for these measures? I think the NRA in the spirit of goodwill should. If they are so against tighter gun laws they should take steps to show commitment to their ideals.
    It's so easy to talk the talk, but NRA can you walk the walk....?

    April 2, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. bikermiker

    It's truly mind boggling how uncreative people have become. To a politician the solution to every problem is to either pass a new law or raise taxes and spend more money. For the NRA, the solution to every problem is to have more guns. Like the saying goes, to a carpenter with a hammer, every problems looks like a nail!! Is this really the best we can do people?

    April 2, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  21. AudreyE

    @Dave N – I do foresee potential costs for the school district. Insurance might be an issue (even a big issue). Also, getting the insurance might require that teachers meet uniform standards, which would require administration by the school district. It's just hard to say.

    Of course, I think this is a terrible idea for a number of reasons.

    April 2, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  22. Kimberly

    I am so glad to live in a BLUE state where this madness will NEVER be implemented. The GOP are a JOKE!

    April 2, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. Mr. Moderate

    It is mind boggling and sad the type of world the NRA wants us to live in. Where guns are the only solution. The only one that benefits is their corporate overlords. But what about movie theaters? Shopping centers? What about the fact that there were armed people at the Giffords shooting? It more guns were the solution we would be the safest nation on earth.

    April 2, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. ShawnDH


    MORE GUNS is onviously the answer to our nation's horrific and shameful gun violence problem. These people are sick.

    April 2, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. Malory Archer


    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.


    Adam Lanza was wearing body armor and packing heavyduty fire power. What hope would a teacher with a handgun have against the "bad guy's" armor and close-range weapons of mass destruction?

    April 2, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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