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. California Conservative

    There used to be schools that actually had smoking areas. By some arguments here we should be able to sue the local government for that.

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

    It seems we have been wasting a lot of money training our armed forces and police. The NRA has come up with a solution to train anyone to use firearms in less than three days.

    April 2, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. ted

    I would rather not see guns everywhere. What needs to happen is that all sales of guns be put in pending until full background checks of the person and their mental stability be done, all assault military type guns, automatic or semi-auotomatic, need to be banned completely, all magazines over 10 rounds be banned completely. This should be a state level responsibility and all states need to have the same regulations. For you rightwingers that think my ideas are against the second amendment, you are completely wrong. I don't mind guns, I don't have one, but no one needs automatic assault guns with magazines that hold more than 10 rounds unless you are a policeman or military.

    April 2, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. Concerned Ma, Resident

    @Dutch/Bad Newz, VA .... It already does LOL

    April 2, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Mary1972

    Let NRA and its supporters pay for it and it should not be on tax payer's $$$.

    April 2, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. bill123

    We could just split the schools up into two sections, the pro school security side and the unarmed victim side. Lets watch all the anti-gun parent's children die because they are trying to prove a point.

    April 2, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. Chiz Dippler

    Lunatics. How can they assume EVERYONE wants to carry around weapons? Is that freedom? How about doing something to prevent these gun wielding maniacs from getting guns and approaching schools, rather than inviting them to not only approach schools, but to exchange fire with school administrators who may not have want any part of operating a gun?

    April 2, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. bruce t

    maybe a handful of guys...just to make anyone not want to go's nuts arming everyone....unless constant training like a Deputy gets....They'll be...Deputies, in extra job rider on their employment.

    April 2, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. California Conservative

    Democrats want to arm the Mexican drug cartel (fast and furious) while disarming American citizens.

    No surprise here.

    April 2, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Lenny Pincus

    Just more gigantic hogwash from some of the most amoral lobbyists in history.

    April 2, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. DrCole

    As a teacher and coach...I would be more than happy to take 40-60 hours of this training without pay. I would be willing to take these classes every summer to stay up on practice, techniques coordinating with authorities, etc. My children are in school and I see this as a viable way to keep them safe. The thing that many people don't know about Sandy Hook, is that it was regarded as a very safe school. People had to be buzzed into the school, just to get to the office. The offender broke through the window to enter the school and then it took law enforcement 20 minutes to be on the scene. That's 20 minutes the shooter had free reign. School employees could be slowing down the offender in 30 seconds. It takes me 15 seconds to lock my classroom down and get my special education kids to their safe position. I could easily leave my kids with the adult aids in the classroom and at least slow the offender down, if not take him/her out. If there were 2 armed and trained conceal carry people in the building, they could be trained in ways to slow the person down and greatly decrease the carnage...or if they were lucky enough, the offender would decide not to do mass murder at a school because they knew that there were gun owners there.

    April 2, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. Friedrich

    @Prof I agree with you. I think the teachers would need to carry concealed though, so no one knows which teachers are armed (because there *is* risk for students to steal a gun of a teacher if they are aware the teacher is carrying – however it is *easy* for anyone to carry concealed without anyone able to detect it – with minimal training). Also teachers would have no special impunity for firearm neglect or misuse of deadly force, so I really don't think it would be an issue (I don't believe allowing select, qualified teachers to carry concealed, if they wish, will result in more frequent "gun battles" or the kind of "caught in crossfire" scenario that liberals are afraid of). And if a teacher is ever in a real situation where use of deadly force is needed, it's likey they would be able to stop the attacker with several shots (the teacher wouldn't be armed to the teeth with an automatic rifle). The real problem here is that liberals have a fear and misunderstanding of guns and cannot imagine any situation in which it would be beneficial to conceal carry a gun. While the NRA's positions may seem extreme and ludicrous to some, I believe they are greatly misunderstood due to general ignorance

    April 2, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Adventure49

    In the United States, there are nearly 100,000 public schools with 50 million students enrolled in K-12 and over 3 million teachers. This year has been a bad year for school shootings; there have been 40. That means less than one student in a million has been shot. In other words, schools are pretty safe.

    Any shooting deaths in schools are too many, but the relative safety of schools makes it easy for potential solutions to make things worse instead of better. I believe that introducing guns into schools, even if they are in the hands of security guards or teachers, in most cases will make things worse. The lack of guns in schools I believe prevents the escalation of confrontations into fatalities.

    An armed guarded at every school would introduce 100,000 guns. Arming teachers could potentially introduce hundreds of thousands of guns into schools. Will those having guns show good judgment in there use? How well will they secure their guns? How many accidental shootings will we have?

    April 2, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. bigtimeusa

    So you are facing a deranged shooter who has not taken personal responsibility for his actions (don't blame the gun, Congress or the NRA, blame the person) and the question is which would you rather have in your hand. A gun where you at least have the possibility of protecting you and yours or lets say a book like the poor teacher and principle at Sandy Hook. I'm thinking a person put into this unfortunate situation won't be thinking "gee, I'm glad for gun control".

    April 2, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. CaliforniaAc

    The NRA's answer is "we need more guns." By their rationale it would be wise for all nations to have NUCLEAR capability so we could all defend ourselves; let Iran and North Korea continue their Nuke programs so we can all be safer.DUMB!

    April 2, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Dyan S

    This is a very difficult subject and I wonder if theres truly any ground for moderates.

    April 2, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. allenwoll

    Then all gun owners should carry teaching certificates - In the event that they need to teach someone something in an emergency.
    That crude-oil spill in AR is NOT the only thing that stinks.

    April 2, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. Guaro

    Armed teachers is way different than armed guards. I grew up in Colombia and went to a very good private school. There we had an armed guard. Did that scare any of us? No. Did we even notice it? No. Now to arm teachers...that is nuts. However, arming people will create a "challenge" for those who seek to harm others. Bottom line is high capacity weapons should be banned and we should force gunmakers to invest in technology so that weapons maybe need fingerprint recognition to be fired. Maybe they should come up with an app for gun users so they are able to track where their weapon is at all times and be able to lock it via smart phone if stolen. All gun users would be required to update their guns. Simple. Everyone wins. Gunmakers can make money off of technology and gun users can use and track their guns.

    April 2, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Durundal

    I wonder how much free publicity and advertising the NRA has siphoned off of all this BS? Perhaps we should send them a bill for it to pay down some of the debt. This is not the wild west, or some action flick – regardless of whether or not people have a gun they will still hesitate and or not use them and it will cost them. Leave the 'action' to the silver screen and grow up.

    April 2, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. AL in West Palm Beach

    I have a proposition....

    you want to have a gun...great.

    how about you have that gun insured, if anyone is shot by it, YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY PAYS. Make it that simple and see how many people return their guns.

    April 2, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. WritingDevil

    Firearms makers salivating as they pull the strings on their NRA puppet.. First schools, then parks, churches, sporting venues, movie theaters, bowling alleys, amusement parks, supermarkets, coffee shops, and, of course, li.braries.

    April 2, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Redleg

    Lets beear in mind that Asa Hutchinson chose college over arming himself and protecting others. So did Wayne LaPierre and David Keene. They rejected defending America and Americans. If you are looking for "good guys with guns", skip the NRA.

    April 2, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. chris

    What happens when a child in elementary school brings in a toy gun and get shot and killed by a teacher do we then start screaming for guns to be taken out of schools?

    April 2, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  24. ghostriter

    As usual, conservatives scream out loud about the sensible solutions offered and offer little on their own.

    Arming teachers? Heck, we could use them to clean up the place as well. Maybe do the landscaping on top of all that.

    How much are you gonna pay them? I'm sure the unions will want hazard pay and all that good stuff.

    April 2, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  25. JustAO

    Is it me or does the NRA have the same mind-set as gang-members and other crazies who promote gun use for protection against others who promote gun use for protection?

    Either you are a gang member who sells drugs and uses guns for protection or you lust for another civil war. Either way, we need you to be in jail and away from guns and our children.

    April 2, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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