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. Chaerlotte

    NRA caters to cowards who don't have the moral integrity to do the right thing and would rather be told that weaponizing everything will solve all the world's ills. NRA leadership and all their fatuous followers need to be exterminated. This shouldn't be hard, just wait and eventually they will all shoot each other. Good riddance.

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

    Fear is the great motivator. But it is not the Fear that is being promoted that we should Fear. It is the ulterior motives of those utilizing that Fear, like the NRA, to motivate, that are to be Feared!
    Be assured that the only thing the NRA is interested in is Selling More and More Guns in order to satisfy there employers, the Gun Manufacturers!
    They would be calling for 105mm Howitzers in every school yard if they thought it would sell Howitzers! They don’t give a whit for who is safe and who is sorry. Their only concern is keep the gun manufacturers happy by selling more guns!

    April 2, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Stan

    I actually agree somewhat... at least until we have better gun control. Train the custodians. Also install 2-3 panic alarm buttons in the front office. At the first sign of forced entry, somebody in the office can set off a school wide siren. Have an escape plan for those on the playground through a back gate.

    April 2, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. JDavis

    America has more guns per capita than any country in the world. It's a poison that's killing us, but the NRA would have us believe that the antidote to the poison is yet more poison.

    April 2, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  5. stuid idea

    As a teacher, the last thing I want to do is be trained to carry a gun. I'd rather find another line of work. It's bad enough we have kids who just don't care and don't want to be here and I an spending endless amount of time calling parents who may or may not care about their kids situation and lack of focus.

    Now I'm supposed to be a trained killer on top of it?? No thank you. The NRA is out of it's mind....

    April 2, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. Mack

    We elect senators and representatives to write our laws; not lobbyists!!!!!

    April 2, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. zon

    Now that is dumb. I see a teacher or administrator with a gun inside my kid's school I'm kicking their backside and taking it away from them.

    April 2, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. Jan

    Seems legit armed guards should be at all schools just like the schools the politicians kids go too.Our children deserve that atleast! You gun grabber nuts are funny!

    April 2, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. California Conservative

    Democrats = Anti Bill of Rights.

    April 2, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. Mark P

    Cigarette manufacturers have had to pay out huge sums to compensate states and citizens for the harm their products have caused; Gun manufacturers (and their spokesmen) should have to do the same.

    April 2, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Keoki Gonzales

    For those individuals posting negative comments about this idea, just think how many kids would be alive today if there was an armed teacher or armed security guard at Newton. Instead of 20 kids no longer being alive, maybe most if not all of them would be alive today. As a parent of 2 children, school security is ridiculous. I can walk into my kids schools at any time, and the only person who is in the position to question or stop me is an overweight, minimum wage paid "Security" officer. This person really has no power to do anything but yell at me. Those of you posting negative comments, if you are parents, stop and ask yourself what your childs school security is like?

    April 2, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. Arthur

    How did that "arming your self" thing work out for DA Mike McLelland and his wife?

    April 2, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Sonny

    NRA and Hutchinson are Stuck on stupid..alot of guns in schools is not the answer. Police officers or armed security guards are the answer.

    April 2, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. Joe The Plumber

    Next mass school shooting headlines "Crazed Teacher Shoots Students."

    April 2, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. Dennis

    So do we arm people on school campuses, to better protect our children... or do we remove armed guards from our courts and our banks?

    Because certainly our children are more precious than our judges or our money?

    April 2, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. AnnoyedByPolitics

    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?
    Having measures to prevent those who shouldn't be in a schools from getting in is never a bad idea, but most schools outside the city do not have metal detectors or security guards (and unless the guards were armed, they aren't much of a deterrent to a gunman). And if someone was looking for an easy target, they aren't going to go where the armed guards are to begin with. That's the point, every teacher would suddenly become a potential armed guard, and there would be no way to tell who or how many. Making schools a far less appealing for someone looking for an easy target.

    And if he shooter is wearing body armor, and can kill an armed teacher, they are already plenty armed, and don't need the teachers gun. No solution is perfect, and you can envision any number of situations where they would fail (What if he arrived in a tank?) The point is to make schools unappealing as targets so tey don't go there to begin with.

    April 2, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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.
    This is the way he should've phrased that statement fro the beginning as opposed to making it seem as if the President's children were meant to be more precious than anyone else's.
    I would've listened to him them, just like I'm listening to him now.

    April 2, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. Jt_flyer

    The school staff must be completely different than when I was in school!

    April 2, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. TommyTwoTone

    The United States has NO need to worry about terrorists when the NRA, on its own, will cause the destruction of the US. The problem is that they (the NRA) are making people believe that more guns are the solution. Violence does indeed beget violence.

    It used to be that fights were settled by fists, nowadays everyone brings a gun to school to 'solve' the problem. The problem gets solved by someone being shot to death and someone else spending the rest of their lives in jail. Those that say guns aren't the problem it's the shooter, well, I disagree. If you make it harder for the shooter to have access to a gun then maybe, just maybe, the shooter will think twice about his actions.

    Guns (and rifles) only have two useful purposes, hunting and recreational clubs. Anything more than that means someone is going to get killed. It's all just a matter of time.

    April 2, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    You know, selling crack within X amount of feet of a school is a serious felony. Why can't that apply for guns in school zones?

    April 2, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Steve

    If the projectionist at Ford Theater was armed, President Lincoln might still be alive today.

    April 2, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. sabien vinetia

    obamas kids are protected by guns, why not yours?

    April 2, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. California Conservative

    Democrats = Anti Bill of Rights = Anti Americans

    April 2, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    The NRA is always looking for the easy way out. Yes, response time during a shooting rampage is critical but how effective would an educator be during a shooting rampage when he or she is tied up teaching their students? I fuully agree that we should have armed guards in our schools but that job should be left up to law enforcement agencies or personnel trained and hired just for that purpose.

    April 2, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. just sayin

    How did that "arming your self" thing work out for DA Mike McLelland and his wife?

    so the demorcats want to guarantee that very same outcome for all of us. no thanks.

    April 2, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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