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. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Who is going to pay for anything?"

    Well, yes. That is a legitimate concern of mine. Got any suggestions?

    April 2, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Mike In KC

    Let's see "trained" school personnel carrying let's say a Glock 17 takes on a shooter carrying a Sig M400 with a 30 round mag.......any guess who dies first?

    April 2, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. us_1776

    NRA, these ridiculous type of ideas and your ties to the arms manufacturers is why this long time US gun owner quit supporting you years ago.


    April 2, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. humtake

    Here we go again. Two sides offering great options yet we STILL don't work to implement both. Instead, let's just argue over which options are better and do nothing. That's the American way.

    April 2, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. Karaya

    Just makes me wonder – how does the rest of the world manage to get by without arming teachers? Oh, yes I forgot – they control guns and do not have NRA...

    April 2, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Bob

    BTW, the NRA's "safety program" has been shown to be a total joke. 20/20 invited the NRA to pick a group of children that had gone through the NRA's gun safety program (complete with cartoon gun shill, Sam the Eagle). They put the kids in a room to play and had the teacher leave the room. Then as the parents watched via hidden cameras, the kids eventually got bored and starting looking in the teacher's desk for more toys. There was a gun (disabled by the 20/20 crew) that the kids immediately began to play with, including to point at each other and pull the trigger. This was a real gun and if it had been loaded, they would have shot and killed someone. Remember, these kids were picked by the NRA as being examples how gun safety will make everyone safer. The parents, NRA members, were horrified by what they saw and promised to get rid of the guns they had in their homes. I wish every delusional parent who thinks they are protecting their family by having a gun in the house could go through that exact same test.

    April 2, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. just sayin

    Problem: far too many gun crimes committed in the USA.
    NRA answer: More guns

    hundreds of millions them as a matter of fact. with so many of these lethal weapons around it is a miracle there is a single living human being left in the country right?. a gun only becomes a dangerous instrument when the hand of a human being grasps it. it is obvious to even the simple minded the problem lies in the human hand, not the gun.

    April 2, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. marik7

    So the NRA wants to increase both the federal budget deficit and the national debt. I thought that organization was supposed to be "conservative," but I don't notice any proposal to raise taxes to pay for the idea. I myself would be more interested if the NRA volunteered to pay for all the expenses involved in their idea. Take the money out of their membership dues. If they did that, no problem, except for the guards that might shoot children for one reason or another.

    April 2, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. jdoe

    Why stop at schools? How about armed guards for shopping malls, stores, theaters, plazas, libraries, etc.? The taxpayer can foot the bill, and the gun owners and NRA-backed trainers will be happy.

    April 2, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. intel345

    Next NRA's plan: Arm school kids.

    April 2, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. teach truth

    I am teacher and would stop teaching....this is the most ignorant thing Ive ever heard...I guarantee the amount of accidental deaths would far out number the amount of would be gunmen killed... I teach high school and take every opportunity I get to try to change the mind of these gun crazy kids...who, by the way, learn this way of thinking through their families....

    April 2, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. candycoatedapple

    Why not teach target shooting to students... it can be a club... in my parent's day, they carried guns in their trucks to go hunting after school.... guns are not bad, bad people are bad.

    April 2, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. scieng

    It is sad to see Biden and Obama not take the safety of our children seriously. The NRA may miss the point in some situations, but they have centered on workable solutions this time.

    April 2, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. thesaj

    The problem in America is not guns, it's criminals. Namely, criminals that are caught and released like fish. And will often have a rap sheet a dozen pages long and still be released out on the streets to commit crimes.

    Why is that?

    You almost have to wonder if the powers that be want crimes to occur in order to give them the political backing they need to disarm the American people.

    April 2, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. raenanda

    The one time liberals care where the money comes from its for protecting kids at school. Amazing. How about this, if they are your kids, YOU pay for it. Responsibility – what a concept.

    April 2, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. strgzer585

    Teaching is rated as one of the most stressful jobs in the world. A teacher having a nervous breakdown is not an uncommon occurrence (2 at my high school while I was there in the 90s). Now put a gun in that teacher's hand and imagine where it leads. This whole idea is like burning your house down for warmth at night because you don't know if the sun is coming up tomorrow.

    April 2, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Yes, lets arm all employees of movie theaters as well, and mall employees...

    April 2, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. ghostriter

    just saying...if the problem is the numan hand, would it not make sense to:

    1) check to make sure the hand isn't attached to a lunatic?
    2) make sure that the gun in the hand has limited ability to do something like.......take out 20+ people?

    Why is the answer bringing in more hands that might be unstable?

    April 2, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Teri

    I am a teacher. Before I carry a gun to school, at my job I will leave the profession.

    April 2, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. intel345

    What if there is messed up teacher and now with a gun?

    April 2, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. St Xavier

    Many years ago when I went to school the schools were wide open to the visiting public no need for protecting the students, dair I say the amount of guns held by the public back then was very much less then they are now, this along should tell you some thing about the lives lost by guns. Can any one remember who lived at that time how many shootings in schools there was I CAN NOT because there wasn't any. For me it was the good old days when we trusted each other. Now we trust no one an guns are abundant. Do we need more guns then we all ready have now, I think not what we need is more under standing of how we got to ware we are right now. As time changes every thing chanes the more we have the more we want an guns are encluded an trust has gone out the window because we now mistrust each other an afraid what we have will be taken away so we say we must protect our self GO BUY A GUN. The second adment is so abused in it's interpretation, back then the second adment ment something very much different for the citizens then, then how it is being interpretated to day. YES GUNS need to be controled an we don't have to be afraid we're going to lose our guns when we finilly come to the right conclussion on gun control that we'll allow us all to keep our guns ONLY if we show that we are responsible. Over time we have put limits on our selves by way of laws I see why we cannot do the same today with GUNS.

    April 2, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. ghostriter

    Oh...I forgot...these are the same teachers conservatives say are paid too much. Now they wanna turn around and give them guns...

    Sure....give me an extra $20,000+ a year, provide the training and the gun(s), kick my life insurance policy to a cool million and we can talk.

    Of course, if I shoot someone by mistake, the school will be responsible for any lawsuits. This lil tidbit will cause schools to think really hard about it.

    April 2, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. PrincetonJim

    Common sense has been left by the wayside. The number of guns in America has to be reduced for gun violence to abate.

    Increasing presence of guns in schools will increase shooting incidents not reduce them.
    Who is going to monitor teachers and school staff when they go crazy and are wielding guns? Should we then arm all school children with guns as the next step?

    April 2, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Reasonable Man

    "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"-- a process we do NOT require of all gun owners. That's OK. The country get less and less old, white and gun-nut every year. Guns are doomed.

    April 2, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. raenanda

    intel345, if there is a messed up teacher, what makes you think they can't get a gun on the black market anyway?

    April 2, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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