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. sonny chapman

    That's a GREAT IDEA ! Why didn't Law Enforcement think of that ?

    April 2, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    NRA = No Rules Apply

    April 2, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. Erson

    I think this country has truly gone mad. Leave it to the NRA to come up with such an udderly STUPID and asinine idea! Why don't we just all go back to the days of the old west, strap a six shooter (or as the NRA would love for you to have ... a 100 or more shooter) to your side, and anytime we have any kind of situation or disagreement we can just step outside and have an old fashioned shootout in the middle of Main Street! So who are the gun nuts and NRA going to blame when a person or student comes into a school, draws a weapon, and the surrounding kids get caught in the crossfire between a panicking teacher and the offender?

    April 2, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. Malory Archer


    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.


    Some people prefer hand-to-hand combat, but what chance do they have against a coward with a gun?

    April 2, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. Ricardo Duarte

    Why not to arm all the country, kids, teachers, women and man in general. When you have to defend yourself, only the faster shooter will be the winner. This country is walking slowly to their own destruction. There is no North Korea, Iran or Venezuela. We are going to make our own extinction.

    April 2, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Dave in Arizona

    Arm teachers and you *might* protect students at school (emphasis on "might").
    Limit gun ownership to reasonable levels and you help protect everyone, everywhere.

    April 2, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. don in albuquerque

    And this is how the NRA will come to an end. The first school incident where a child is injured or killed by these "school" trained "gunslingers" will result in so much litigation the NRA will go broke. And well they should along with every one else who wants to put their name to this kind of luncay. Much in the same manner the KKK was brought to an end. NRA, KKK,........same difference.

    April 2, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. just sayin

    "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.

    well then why are the liberals always talking about gun laws and how violent it is out there because of all these guns if the chances miniscule? thank you for just destroying your own argument for more gun control laws because you just admitted there is practically no problem.

    could this all be just liberals and lefties taking advantage of a tragedy to push their political agenda? yup.

    April 2, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Badger, Joe

    How about putting magnetometers at all entrances to school buildings and grounds with Loud alarms and locks that automatically shut tight when the alarm is triggered. And/or have double entrances and only one or two of them. The resident cop/resource officer on campus can then deal with the situation. Then there is no further progress by the individual, in or out. That would have stopped Lanza at the front door. the idea of arming teachers is ridiculous and dangerous. Probably >70% of male students at the high school level could overpower most of their teachers if they wanted to. Unless, of course, besides fire arms training, Then he would not even have to bring his own gun to the party - how convenient.

    April 2, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. George

    Is the NRA paying for this? Do they have the slightest idea of how strapped for money schools already are? So instead of gun laws limiting the sales of certain types of guns and restricting who is allowed to own a gun, and God forbid a national registry of gun ownership, THIS is their solution!? Now we know they are only interested in 1 thing, profits from gun sales. They only have 4 million members, most of their money comes from the Wal-Marts and gun manufacturing. Let's call it what it is. responsible gun owners should quit the NRA and leave behind the vultures who profit from murder and fear-mongering.

    April 2, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Carolyn wrote:

    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.
    Combine these "stand your ground laws" with a pack of fully armed, paranoid delusionals jumping at shadows, and you wind up with a circular firing squad with no one being held responsibility for shooting someone's kid. "I was scared. I missed."

    April 2, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. wwf

    Right, until a teacher or other adult with the gun have a meltdown. RRRRRRRREEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL smart idea. Would expect nothing less from the "more guns in school, bars, churches, and everywhere else will stop the bad boys.

    April 2, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. rosethornne

    Because low-wage mouthbreathers waving guns around little kids is the smartest possible scenario.

    April 2, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Joe Krowski

    All guns should be taken away from owners. Admenendments can be admended.

    April 2, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  15. AgrippaMT

    There seems to be no limit to the NRA's extremism and insanity. Parents around the nation should rise up in holy wrath and demand the NRA be outlawed.

    April 2, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. B

    We already had an assult weapons ban in effect for 5 years before Columbine happened. How did that work out for them?


    Columbine had an armed security guard. How did that work out for them?

    April 2, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. wwf

    To the idiot that said "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." Talk is cheap. How many people have you blown away tough guy. It is easy to assume, it is another to act. I guess 10 million people in ww2 were cowards of the highest order as well.

    April 2, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  18. Gumby

    The only deterent to a nutjob like Lanza – is the fear that prey may not be "easy" victims. In all of these cases (Colorado, Newtown) consider what would have been the outcome if someone had been able to deal with it quickly. The outcome is undeniable – and for those of you who think that arming teachers is "ridiculous", it might have had a far different outcome if only we had made the type of changes the NRA has mentioned!

    April 2, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Jason

    I think every teacher should be given a nuke in case of multiple gunman.

    April 2, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  20. raenanda

    If some crazy person starts shooting up your kids' school, wouldn't you want the police to be there the moment it happens as opposed to ten minutes away? Do you people hate the NRA so much that you would rather they not get their way than to see your kids actually have a fighting chance at survival? What if its your kid that's the last one killed before the police show up after ten minutes?

    April 2, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. rs

    California Conservative

    Dems name calling. It always comes down to that.

    How profound democrats.
    You can't fix stupid. Which is what this "plan" is .... defending it, is, well stupid. Call it whatever you like.

    April 2, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. Mary

    When the first responders come in to a situation at a school, how are they to know who is the shooter and who is a teacher with a firearm?

    April 2, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    notaposter wrote:

    This idea makes sense. Some people are just close-minded
    Who pays for it all? Manufacturers get to sell at least another 40 million weapons. Teacher/Defenders get a free weapon, complete with professional training. Meanwhile, your school district's insurance rates go through the roof. One of the defenders goes postal. And no one has yet to figure out how to pay for any of it.

    It is against my religion to spend my tax dollars on weapons in the hands of people who are outside of the military.

    April 2, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  24. Paoulo

    Yes! A weapons free zone in every school and playground! Next we'll invite in the drug dealers. This way we can keep and eye on them and ensure they don't harm the kids when out of the reach of the armed school staff. And eventually we should have cigarette machines in schools so they don't have to go to the convenience store, where so many armed robberies happen. And we won't have to suspend kids for bringing weapons to school – we can just shoot'em down, ensuring saftey and lowering administrative costs!

    April 2, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. raenanda

    Interesting how some people would prefer the intentional damage of a mad man over the collateral damage of a rescuer.

    April 2, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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