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. Abby

    An armed and well trained prosecutor was just shot to death in TX. I don't think more guns is the answer.

    April 2, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Jeb

    The only thing the NRA is interested in protecting is gun industry profits.

    April 2, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. skeeve

    To Each School its own tank battalion! Build machine gun nest on every corner! Provide each kid with a bullet-proof vest. Yes, the NRA vision of the world...

    April 2, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. steve

    NRA, don't forget, we need to "hook" them young. Why arm the teachers when there are so many more *students*!?! Especially seeing a heavily armed kindergarten student would put the fear in most! Even those nut jobs! The bonus with this simply *ingenious* plan includes the ability to gain NRA lifetime members from the age of 5 or 6 years old. Priceless! This seems even *better* than the tobacco companies hooking kids on cigarettes. I have an even better plan, *require* students carry firearms! The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun. The students certainly qualify, right?

    April 2, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The NRA has never said it should be mandatory a teacher be armed, just that those who volunteer, and are trained, should be allowed to do so. Even if no one in the school is actually carrying, there is no way a gunman would know that. Just the possibility makes schools a much less appealing target.
    So having security measures in place from preventing armed people from entering a campus or a building is a bad idea? Because those metal detectors are just worthless eh? Let me ask you this then. What if the shooter has on body armor, kills the teacher and takes the teacher's gun, what then?

    April 2, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. mike

    So the gun industry lobby says the solution is more guns...stop the presses. Even if the solution IS more guns, we really need the gun lobby's opinion?

    April 2, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. bill

    The NRA will do anything and everything they can to keep this issue in the hands of the lobbyist and out of the hands of the American voters, because the American people will sweep this moronic NRA initiative away like Obama swept all the swing states in the last Presidential election.

    April 2, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  8. logicnothuff

    Here's why the heathen B. Hussein Obama and his army of commies are taking us over, from the Word of God:
    Psalm 106: 37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,
    Psalm 106: 41 And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them.

    Word of God cuts both ways as a steel sword and America needs to start with wiping out of their positions using mass impeachments all of these infanticide-aphilic heathen.

    April 2, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. AtlanticDan

    Unfortunately the NRA is no longer a national sport shooting association, but a powerful (maybe the most powerful) lobby of the manufacturers and distributors of firearms and ammunition. It is a thinly-vieled cadre of corporate lawyers and executives using social issues and hot-button rhetoric to expand their markets and increase sales. They are not about public safety whatsoever. They are about profit.

    April 2, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. norma jean

    Please explain to us just how a reacher in a classroom with a gun in her desk could possibly have saved all of those children who were killed!!! My mother was a teacher for many years and believe me she would never have been able to handle a situation like that.....nor would most teachers......If law enforcement was present at each school....would you have them in front of the building...on the sides back or on the roof?? You must remember,,,most of this massacre took about five minutes!!!!......NRA...may we have some answers that aren;t self serving and ridiculous???

    April 2, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. cw

    Because that worked so well at Columbine.

    April 2, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. skeeve

    @David Stone
    No, I DO NOT trust teacher with my kids lives. I trust them with my kid's education. I understand that NRA and you don't see much difference between a school and maximum security prison but I do.

    April 2, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. toddsdisndat

    almost sounds like we are going the way of the airlines with teachers now... lock everyone in the rooms, armed escorts for bathroom and hall passes, no standing in the isles... no parking within 500 feet of the schools.... yeah i can see where this is going...

    April 2, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. HuhWuh

    Crazy talk. A well-armed teacher is a prime target for an unstable to student to tackle, take the teacher's gun and shoot at will. Yea, that's a good solution, NRA gun nuts.

    April 2, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  15. Romney is Still NOT My Hero


    Don't apologize for the sarcasm. The NRA deserves it and then some. This organization is a huge stain on America, and I'm glad more people are starting to see how ridiculous they really are.

    April 2, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. wade

    Now finally some one making sense. Democrats think criminals and the insane care about rules and laws. Democrats do not enforce the laws we have. Democrats think restricting guns does some good when all the evidence like DC , Chicago and others prove their insane. Some one comes to a school to kill our kids you shoot them END OF STORY!

    April 2, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. Wisconsin Gal

    Seems like the NRA wants to take this country back to the days of the wild, wild west.

    April 2, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  18. Joe from Boston

    Training and arming teachers to carry weapons in school is insane.

    April 2, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. Rob Conrad

    It is clear that the people making this proposal have never stepped foot in a school. Ever.

    April 2, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. Charlie

    What is not mentioned is that former GOP congressman Asa Hutchinson, is employed by the NRA, at an annual salary of $270,000.

    April 2, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. Prof

    "The last thing we need, and ask any teacher, is to arm teachers ..."

    I’m a teacher, a professor at a public college, and I disagree. Training select teachers, who are already on the payroll, and who may already own their own sidearms, is an effective and cost efficient deterrent. To a previous post imagining students being “caught in crossfire,” is it not worse to have a gunman in a classroom with no resistance at all?

    It makes no sense to make defenseless our most vulnerable and precious population—our children mandatorily gathered in gun-free zones.

    April 2, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. DEM Winners

    NRA, please do not forget to also arm the school janitors as well.

    April 2, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. High School teacher

    Kids can really push buttons on their teachers; it sometimes gets highly charged, especially in high schools. Arming the teachers, a very bad idea.

    April 2, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  24. California Conservative

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

    April 2, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. john

    What about the malls and movie theaters? The NRA is ignoring that lucrative market. All projectionists should be armed next.

    April 2, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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