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. dsmidiman

    For the NRA or anyone else for that matter to suggest that arming our teachers in our public schools is the answer to gun violence in our schools is a perfect example of what is DEAD WRONG with our country. It's a kin to saying that raising the legal speed limit will inhibit accidents caused by speeding cars? It is also yet ANOTHER perfect example of our country and culture putting monetary gain over the health and safety of society as a whole. Pro gun people love the phrase "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" and it is the most insane thing I've ever heard. Following that same logic it would then it would be right to say cars and vehicles don't kill people, people driving cars kill people. Therefore we should not have speeding laws or tests to get driver's license etc. etc. etc. What the heck is wrong with some people?

    April 2, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. Kealia1974

    This is nothing new on the part of the NRA. The gun lobby is HUGE in this country. What I find hilarious is how they have managed to convince a certain demographic that they need guns to protect themselves when the statistics say otherwise.

    April 2, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. bajadelmar

    How about gun owners being held responsible for the firearms that they purchase??? After they pass a background check of course. Yearly checks to make sure the weapons are still in their possession. Right now guns are purchased and then forgotten about. It's the "law abiding" citizens that purchase and then "lose" or claim that they're were stolen when one is found after being used in a crime. There's no accountability for owning a gun in this country and that's a major problem.

    April 2, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. Scott

    I can not believe that they are suggesting background checks for teachers but against them for Joe Yahoo off the street.

    April 2, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. ruducky2

    As a teacher I could easily make jokes about the survivability of administrators in a teacher-armed school.

    What really scares me about being armed as a teacher is the idea that it could very well be a student (or former student) attacking the school. Even in defense of the lives of other students, taking the life of one of my own students would be tough to live with.

    It has been an odd year at school. Our first day last August we were informed that because of a new law, teachers are not allowed to touch students (in the context of removing them from class or taking them to the office). In the high school it hasn't been so bad. But in elementary schools teachers are getting slapped and even bitten.

    Along comes Sandyhook and we still can't touch students but we might be able to shoot them? And everybody wonders why schools are failing.....

    April 2, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. PaulG

    Because gun-free-zones have worked out so well. For the people crying about the cost, arming and training 'volunteer' staff is the most economical means to provide quick response ability, even if it involves a small stipend. One of my teachers who later became a principal had been a military MP and would have fit this roll perfectly. Being a pacifist is clearly not working.

    April 2, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. mjg

    Train teachers to have guns, Coaches at little league games should be packing, I was at an elementry school and the kids were at recess, how come snipers were not in the trees protecting our little ones just in case? what about at ski areas at childrens ski school or summer camps? where does it stop? This thinking is insane. More guns mean more problems. How many people are killed protecting their homes vrs. killing an actual intruder?? The NRA are nothing but a bunch of bullies

    April 2, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. poweringforward

    If we didn't think that it was possible for students committing such crimes against their classmates, then what prevents a teacher suffering from similar mental issues (as these students in the past) from doing similar??

    April 2, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. I'm picturing...

    I'm picturing the teachers when I was in school and I'm gonna say a big fat "no" to that.

    I'm also picturing the unfunded federal compliance they have to do NOW and I'm gonna give a second big NO to that.

    April 2, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. bojensen

    Just pay for it with a user tax. All guns and bullets should be taxed annually, like we do with car registration, to pay the fees.

    April 2, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. Pandamonius

    I'll support the NRA on this if, and only if, THEY completely fund this initiative themselves. That's the only way to prove they aren't just trying to obtain more money for their gun maker masters.

    April 2, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. Teamski

    This is why I didn't renew my NRA membership. Like the Republican party, the NRA is really out of touch with reality. Having armed teachers is the last thing I want to see. Just have one shoot a child and watch the backlash.


    April 2, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. Chris

    GREAT... then when a teacher loses it and shoots up a class, they will be calling to Arm and Train all students.

    Great plan by this group that are paid millions by gun companies to do one thing "SELL MORE GUNS"

    April 2, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Paul

    A gunman could still kill lots of kids before the armed guard gets to the scene. The only way to reduce the death toll is to have gun control.

    April 2, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. teach123

    I have been teaching for 23 years and love to shoot for a hobby. I am very skeptical about arming teachers. In the fog of war, there will be collateral damage (children). Law enforcement officers find it challenging to be discrete with shots in crowded situations. My fear is that the teachers will be under-trained for tactical situations.

    Extra law enforcement officers hired to protect all schools will never get funded. The government has pretty much cut school funds to the breaking point. Municipalities can not afford it either. GET REAL!

    April 2, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. Phillip

    Train school security men/woman to do what. What 7.50hr security guard is going to put his/her life on the line and are these security people going to be in every school in america or just the ones that the NRA says? Most innner-city schools already have security men/woman working in them.

    April 2, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  17. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Let's face it, our military men and women returning home from combat are already trained and combat ready. Furthermore, many of them are unemployed. I say, let's hire our Veterans and put them on the job to safeguard our schools. That is, WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY...simply because another lunatic could be plotting another carnage.

    April 2, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. penguin

    The Texas DA that was killed carried a gun, yet was shot dead anyway. So much for the NRA theory that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is by a good guy with a gun. The only way to stop a shooting is to limit the sale of arms. Putting guns in school will not prevent killings but will increase the chance of accidental shootings.

    April 2, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. Guaro

    haha. do you know what most ironic thing of all is...these NRA people only speak in places where guns are not allowed. They are afraid of being shot. If guns don't kill then, allow them where the NRA speaks? What's the matter? Too scared to talk in front of armed people other than NRA members? So hypocritical..

    April 2, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. Bob

    If you have a gun in your home for protection, it is 22 times more likely to be used AGAINST a member of the household than an intruder. Either a kid will find it and shoot a playmate or kill themselves (accidentally or intentionally) or a spouse will use it during a domestic dispute. A gun in the house does not make it safer. All statistics show that. That's why the NRA is trying so desperately hard to suppress all gun incident data. They snuck it into the ACA so no data gathering can be done. They even got a law passed in Florida making it a felony for a doctor to ask about gun. An emergency room doctor simply asking "Was your child shot?" could land him in jail according to the law on the books. That's how you know who's wrong (and knows it). The side trying to suppress information is the one who is wrong (as the Bible says "The truth will set you free"). I see in Texas they are going to try this scheme of arming schools. I have a simple prediction: more gun deaths in Texas schools than anywhere else. We already see that Texas is the most armed state and of course they lead in gun deaths per person. Now we are going to see cases where kids get a hold of the "safety guns" that the school has and shoots someone. Or a staff member will snap one day (do you REALLY want that bitter old janitor with a drinking problem having access to a firearm around your kids?) or teachers will get in an argument with a parent and suddenly a thrown fist becomes a tragic shooting.

    April 2, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. Sean

    This is a tired subject.

    April 2, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. bill123

    I actually like that idea. we need insurance for everything else in this country. I believe the 2nd Amendment says " a well REGULATED militia." Operative word being "REGULATED." Making you purchase insurance is a good form of regulation.

    Well regulated means "in working order" or "properly functioning." It means that a militia needs arms for it to work. Idiot.

    April 2, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. BobFromPA

    Arm the teachers. Put armed security in the movie theaters. Armed guards on school buses. Armed guards everywhere. Sort of sounds like our civilization has creep-ed backwards doesn't it? Makes you also wonder if the real funders of the NRA won't benefit financially from this proposal also?

    April 2, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. Curious_G

    I am shocked at the gross ignorance displayed by the majority of posters on here. It seems very few read the article (only the headline) and just came to post.

    I also wager that most have no idea what being a CCW/CHP permit holder means – let alone any clue on the stats out there for all these "cross fire shootings" people speak of. There was doom and gloom spouted for many states that loosened up on the permit laws – the same paranoia unleashed here. None of the threatened ill effects have taken place.

    I also love the "who's gonna pay for it" line. Who is going to pay for anything? Who is going to pay for the MASSIVE requirements thrown out in every single gun-control measure. Most will outstrip this proposal, you can be certain of that.

    April 2, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. penguin

    Any addded armed security in schools should be paid for by taxing the sale of bullits

    April 2, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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