Instant heat in response to NRA study calling for armed officers and gun-carrying staff in schools

tb1605There are many passionate responses from education leaders today to recommendations from a National Rifle Association- sponsored study that schools hire armed security officers and allow trained staff to carry weapons to prevent another Newtown tragedy by reducing response time. The recommendations were released at a press conference today.

Here is a statement from Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund:

“Why is the NRA afraid of the truth? The truth is there is no evidence that armed guards or police officers in schools make children safer. Columbine High School had an armed guard, and Virginia Tech had a full campus police force.

Today’s report is nothing more than a continuation of the NRA’s attempts to prey on America’s fears, saturate our schools with more guns and turn them into armed fortresses. It must be soundly rejected.

It is long past time for us to protect child safety instead of guns. We must not allow the gun lobby to enrich gun manufacturers at the expense of our children’s education and safety. ”

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federal of Teachers, said:

“Today’s NRA proposal is a cruel hoax that will fail to keep our children and schools safe. It is simply designed to assist gun manufacturers flood the nation and our schools with more guns and large magazine clips, which will simply lead to more violence.

The NRA is trying to distract the American people from the real, serious gun problem we face in America Adam Lanza broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School and fired 155 bullets into innocent children and educators in less than five minutes. That America can’t do something to prevent future mass shootings with this kind of weaponry and ammunition is unacceptable and outrageous. The NRA proposal will do nothing to stop another gunman with similar weapons and munitions from shattering the safe sanctuary of our schools.

“If we are serious about protecting our children and our communities, Congress must reject the NRA’s dangerous posturing and follow the lead of the Connecticut Legislature in enacting bipartisan, commonsense gun safety legislation, including comprehensive background checks, and a ban on large magazine clips and military assault weapons. These reforms would strike at the heart of America’s gun violence epidemic.Schools must be safe, nurturing learning environments for our students, which is why we are opposed to proposals to arm educators or turn our schools into armed fortresses. Safety personnel and safety plans have their place in schools, but we must leave those decisions to the people who know our schools best—not to those acting as a proxy for gun manufacturers. Ironically, the NRA proposes extensive background checks for the people they want to guard our schools, but opposes those same background checks for anyone else.

Here are the details from AJC.com:

Schools across the nation should train selected staff members to carry weapons and should each have at least one armed security officer to make students safer and allow a quicker response to an attack, the director of a National Rifle Association-sponsored study said Tuesday.

Republican former Rep. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas made the remarks as a task force he headed released its report, which included a 40- to 60-hour training program for school staff members who are qualified and can pass background checks.

“The presence of an armed security personnel in a school adds a layer of security and diminishes the response time that is beneficial to the overall security,” said Hutchinson.

Asked if every school would be better off with an armed security officer, Hutchinson replied, “Yes,” but acknowledged the decision would be made locally. “Obviously we believe that they make a difference,” he said.

Hutchinson said the security could be provided by trained staff members or by school resource officers — police officers assigned to schools that some districts already have. The report was released a week before the Senate plans to begin debating gun control legislation.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog. Please note that all comments to blogs are moderated and must be released to appear.

93 comments Add your comment

AJC isn't me

April 2nd, 2013
3:18 pm

Notice how the liberal media’s campaign against the Second Amendment hasn’t yielded anything? Even Democrat Senate Leader Harry Reid won’t publicly back it. Meanwhile, Sandy Hook recedes farther and farther into history.

How’s classroom security handled in Israel?: http://goo.gl/YScRi

Rick L in ATL

April 2nd, 2013
3:20 pm

Anybody willing to argue that APS should get rid of its armed Resource Officers?

I didn’t think so.

But hey, if we decide to to disarm school employees completely and let them take their chances, I’ll be right behind you, Randi Weingarten. Literally right behind you.

Maureen Downey

April 2nd, 2013
3:21 pm

@AJC, If you do some research on that photo, you will see stories like this one from Israel Today

There is a picture going around the Internet that I have seen about a dozen times today that claims that Israeli teachers are packing heat. Well, are they? The answer is “NO.” There may be some exceptions in dangerous areas like the West Bank (where five percent of Israelis live), but in general, Israeli teachers are not walking around like it’s the Wild Wild West, strapped with a six shooter. No, our teachers are not focused on shooting, but educating. That doesn’t mean, however, that we don’t protect young students.

In the picture, the students are on an outing. While it appears that the teacher is holding a rifle, I have never seen such a thing in ten years of living here. Rest assured however, they are under armed protection. In most cases it is an armed guard or a soldier that will accompany a class, not the teacher. And my guess is that the woman with the gun is a security guard, not a teacher.

Secondly, they are not armed in the classroom. Is that really the image you want to imprint on the minds of six-year-olds? On the other hand. I have never seen a school in Israel that was not fenced in. You must go through a locked gate that is guarded by an armed shomer, a security guard. He or she, on the other hand, is not concerned with educating, but protecting. He or she will ask you why you are there? “What is your child’s name?” “Show me your I.D. card.” And he or she would not let you bring a weapon inside.

These types of massacres don’t seem to happen here for other reasons as well. Despite the stereotype of Israel being a violent nation, it is a million times (slight exaggeration) easier to get a weapon in the US than it is in Israel. Gun Control laws are very strict here.

Two types of people have guns in Israel: Soldiers and those with licenses. Mentally unstable people don’t have guns—and thus, don’t shoot people. And it is not as easy to steal a gun as it is in the US. When you are drafted you go through mental tests to see if there are any red flags. If so, you will be discharged or placed in an area where you would never see a rifle.

Only those with the rank of Captain or Lieutenant Colonel for at least two years can qualify to own a gun after the army. And those who do have guns are taught to guard them carefully. For soldiers who take their weapons home, it must be on their persons at all times or under lock and key.

Losing a weapon will get you a jail sentence, as my wife’s childhood friend, Moti, found out two decades ago. He left his gun in his car because he was just running into a mini-mart. He came back and the gun was gone. He spent six months in jail and God only knows where that gun ended up.

Hunting is not popular in Israel, so it would be rare to see someone with five or six hunting rifles and therefore, neither would their son, who spends ten hours a day playing mortal combat, have access to them.

We are fond of saying Guns don’t kill people, people do… But we could also say that Mentally unstable people who can’t obtain assault rifles or even pistols are far less likely to commit mass murder.

Assault rifles are banned in Israel, except in areas where there is a security risk such as the West Bank.

http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/23572/Default.aspx

Private Citizen

April 2nd, 2013
3:29 pm

Interesting point, who / what kills people?
<iWe are fond of saying Guns don’t kill people, people do… But we could also say that Mentally unstable people who can’t obtain assault rifles or even pistols are far less likely to commit mass murder.

It would be dishonest to leave out the part about governments kill people, too.

aileen

April 2nd, 2013
3:30 pm

this is such a blatant attempt to sell more guns and not secure the safety of our nation’s children!! if the American people believe and accept this INSANE solution, they need to have their heads and hearts examined!!!!!!

Chamblee Dad

April 2nd, 2013
3:36 pm

@Maureen I know metro systems have an armed presence on campuses to varying degrees & in different forms. Any way to present a survey of what our schools currently have? After Sandy Hook it seems schools wanted to assure parents that they had “systems & plans” in place, but I suspect some wouldn’t want it to be very public revealed exactly what that is. But we all seem to know what APS high schools have or say they have.

AJC isn't me

April 2nd, 2013
3:38 pm

@Maureen; Perhaps the opinionated piece you cite is accurate, perhaps not. The writer does include disclaimers, I notice. And is by no means against armed guards.

And by the way, virtually all Israeli males are soldiers in reserve units until their forties.

Maureen Downey

April 2nd, 2013
3:39 pm

@To all, All comments on my blog today go first into moderation and have to be individually approved and released. Sorry to posters who have a proven track record, but getting tired of the cat and mouse game with the inappropriate posters.
Maureen

Chamblee Dad

April 2nd, 2013
3:41 pm

@Maureen Your point on Israel is well-taken. It’s always seemed to me that their different reality demands different approaches – as in air travel security – they don’t look for bombs so much, they look for terrorists.

I was wondering on the moderation – but I understand. Looking not so much for inappropriate posts, but rather for abusing posters?

BC

April 2nd, 2013
3:44 pm

It is not the gun but the gun owner. Have background checks on those who purchase guns. Also, enforce the rules that are already in place. But let’s be realistic, nothing will be done because Washington is a joke. They can’t get anthing right except promote entitlement!!!!

Doug Terry

April 2nd, 2013
3:44 pm

I think we should do away with schools. Our kids are getting their education from television while munching on their super sized meals, so lets keep them safe at home. Then we will not have to hire security guards art added taxpayer expense and we can save ourselves even more money. No further tax expenses for schools, teachers, or any of that rubbish.

Maureen Downey

April 2nd, 2013
3:45 pm

@Chamblee, I exchanged emails with my colleague Jay Bookman today about the racist posts prompted by any mention of APS. Both our blogs have been dealing with it all weekend and it is demoralizing to us and, I’m sure, to most readers as well.
So, this is an attempt to just stop it.
Maureen

Lynn43

April 2nd, 2013
3:45 pm

I will never vote to allow school personnel to carry guns. We have security in cooperation with police and sheriff’s departments. They do a great job. Our teachers and administrators are there to provide education.

HS Math Teacher

April 2nd, 2013
3:45 pm

I’ll bet you that there are male, and possibly, female teachers who are secretly packing a weapon in their purse or briefcase.

I don’t pack any heat, but if I were armed, I would promise you that I would bring down a flaming lucifer-like lunatic to the ground with a few shots to the chest and head.

Centrist

April 2nd, 2013
3:49 pm

That heat isn’t instant – it was spring-loaded ever since the Columbine, Va Tech, and Newton slaughters. Not enough bodies yet for a logical defense when liberals can continue to scream for gun free zones.

Jayakumar

April 2nd, 2013
3:51 pm

American needs to change and get over their violent gun culture. Every country with strict enforced gun control laws have much lower violence and gun related deaths than the US has. Actually the US has one of the highest per capita gun related violence in the world. Within the US, a recent research has shown that states that have tougher gun laws like New York have much lower gun violence than states that do not like Arizona. Guns kill and the last person you need to be holding a gun is a teacher. That destroys the intellectual image of a teacher and sends the wrong message to the small children who is growing up.

Mark's Man

April 2nd, 2013
3:52 pm

There are only 2 things wrong with this article, the style and the content. The very simple fact is that firearms are not responsible for violence. People are, and that is where the efforts need to be made.

Sylvan Diamond (aka "Ace")

April 2nd, 2013
3:54 pm

A shooter walks into a schoolroom with his automatic weapon at the ready. His FIRST target is the armed teacher. Then what? So you thjink arming teachers is the answer? Great for the gun industry. A myth as a solution to mass shootings in schools or anywhere alse for thatmatter.

Scooter

April 2nd, 2013
3:55 pm

Well, there may not be any evidence that armed guards or police officers in schools make children safer; however, there is ample evidence that laws and regulations don’t stop criminals.

Sylvan Diamond (aka "Ace")

April 2nd, 2013
3:57 pm

A shooter armed with an automatic weapon at the ready. His FIRST target would be the armed teacher. Then what?

pmacdee

April 2nd, 2013
3:59 pm

So our government needs to spend money that it doesn’t have to protect itself from people who are calling for lower taxes. Who get the money? The people selling weapons to nuts who don’t trust the government.

Centrist

April 2nd, 2013
4:05 pm

While you are occasionally moderating, please answer the following for us:

The AJC kept publishing Friday through Monday that the 35 could turn themselves in any time by Tuesday, and predicted a flood Monday morning to be bailed out after a 11AM Hearing. Only 3 attempted, and were turned away. The AJC later on Monday published that it was a paperwork snafu, but a spokeswoman for Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard said the defendants were to surrender “on Tuesday” and not before. Nothing more about the mix up from the AJC.

One of these versions is/was very wrong, and the vast majority of the 35 went with district attorney’s office. Which version is correct?

Aaron M

April 2nd, 2013
4:07 pm

An armed security guard stopped a shooter intent on committing mass murder in a huge Colorado Springs church a few years back. Surprise! Armed guards do work.

The legislation that has been attempted in congress such as an “assault weapon” ban would have no effect. A shooter could use several pistols with 10 round magazines to equal or more devastating effect (easier to hide). Without a gun, a crazy could crash a SUV into a classroom of kids or make a bomb (Oklahoma City where over 160 killed).

An armed guard could stop shooters armed with any weapon and also possibly stop a SUV driving maniac if in the right place at the right time.

Liberals just do not want to admit the NRA is on the money with the best suggestion so far. They would rather just attempt to ban guns in as many places as possible and create easy prey zones for criminals and crazies.

Clutch Cargo

April 2nd, 2013
4:12 pm

Maureen-

I agree with everything you wrote about the photo from Israel,BUT…We have the right in the USA to keep and bear arms and they don’t, so arguments to the contrary notwithstanding, we have a different reality here than they do there. And lack of individual gun ownership hasn’t protected the innocent bystanders from being maimed and killed when a suicide bomber succeeds.

Bob

April 2nd, 2013
4:19 pm

Many rich and powerful people send their kids to schools with armed guards including our president, if it is good enough for him it is good enough for me. Edelman-Wright brings up Columbine as an example of a school having a guard and suggests that guard did nothing to prevent tragedy. The fact is that guard engaged one of the killers in a gun battle, time that the killer could not use to kill any more kids. The shooter then killed himself. Can Edelman-Wright tell us that that the guard that risked his life did not save anyone ? If it were not for that exchange who is Wright to say the killer would not have killed anyone else in that time frame. Maybe the ammo spent trying to kill the Columbine guard would have been used on another student. One thing is for sure, if a threat occurs in our schools, the people called to the scene to help are armed, why ? If armed guards are bad why would you then call in armed guards in a time of need ?

trust

April 2nd, 2013
4:21 pm

Back on topic is US school safety. The writer of the article does not want to focus on school safety: just bash the NRA. Perhaps the writer should actually read the report about Columbine before making the statement of an armed guard there. The guard was not in the building but away from campus, drove back to campus and as such was protocol at the time, did not enter the building.

Maureen was the guard inside Columbine HS or outside when the shooting started? How long was it until the police entered the building?

Texas has had “guardians” (armed teachers) in some of their schools since 2007. The reason they are there is the time required for the police to get to certain schools (sometimes almost an hour). Local communities with elected school boards can decide for themselves what policy will work for them. If the school district decides police can arrive in an acceptable time then so be it. To attempt to turn school safety into a gun control debate is wrong.

If you want to debate gun violence then lets talk about that and not link it to school safety.

whoozit1

April 2nd, 2013
4:32 pm

when was the last that ms wright edleman walked out the door of her house and saw a policeman standing there protecting her butt?? hey lady, wake up, the police just cant be everywhere at the same time and i’d be willing to bet you would be happy to see your permitted neighbor coming to your rescue from a criminal.

Private Citizen

April 2nd, 2013
4:35 pm

A little puzzle with gun-based entertainment media. I don’t know what to make of it. I consume a lot of action movies from Hong Kong and India (both have huge film industries). They have lots and lots of excessive gun-based action movies, but it usually some poetic twist, Robin Hood mode, or the good guys done wrong must put down the mafia. Meanwhile, both of these countries, cities, etc. are not suffering the political and media initiatives being recently applied in the U. S. Meanwhile, in the U. S. in the last decade or 15 years, there has been much gun culture in movies and tv (things I would not approve for prime time), but it is often police or government-based gun use in the shows. I can’t make any sense of it, except that it seems like we have a lot of constructed-reality occurring in the U. S. political / media. And now, this sort of hype is being bandied about as policy initiatives, filling the space of media where, instead? we might be discussing food quality (a serious contemporary issue) or the nuts and bolts of education, or the peculiar high prices of U. S. medical procedures, or maybe the speed and distribution of internet and how to use it – real things that affect quality of life.

Gunsdontkill

April 2nd, 2013
4:37 pm

My kids high school and middle school in Alpharetta already have an armed security guard at the schools and they like them. The cops/guards talk to the kids and they love it. What’s the big deal?

Mikey D.

April 2nd, 2013
4:44 pm

Just out of curiosity, why is it that every time the second ammendment is referenced, you always hear the part about the right to bear arms, but seldom is a word spoken about the other part… You know, the “well regulated” part?

bootney farnsworth

April 2nd, 2013
4:44 pm

somebody needs to get bookman a real dictionary. seems he can’t figure out the difference between racism and bigotry.

or more likely, doesn’t care to try

Maureen Downey

April 2nd, 2013
4:46 pm

@Centrist: Sent you questions to the education editor. Her response:

Turns out no hearing was necessary because the bonds were set and the case was quickly assigned to a judge. The D.A. did say that they had until Tuesday; some attorneys took that to mean that they can turn themselves in anytime between then and Tuesday. The paperwork process took a lot longer than expected and they didn’t have it done so the D.A.’s office then clarified and said they were to turn themselves in on Tuesday. As is the case with breaking news, some incomplete and incorrect information comes out.

Atlanta Mom

April 2nd, 2013
4:52 pm

I remember being appalled when my child went to middle school, and there was an armed resource officer. I didn’t realize we were just ahead of the times.

GB101

April 2nd, 2013
4:53 pm

““Why is the NRA afraid of the truth? The truth is there is no evidence that armed guards or police officers in schools make children safer”

Is Marian Wright Edleman interested in evidence? Her organization favors a ban on “assault weapons” and limiting magazines to 10 rounds. Does she have evidence that these measures work?

Does she know what an “assault weapon”is? Could she define the term? Could she distinguish an assault weapon from a hunting rifle that is not an “assault weapon”?

Does she know how easy it would be for a killer to carry five or six magazines carrying only ten rounds each? Does she know how long it would take this killer to change magazines and continue shooting? Does she think she herself could rush him and disarm him as he removed one magazine and inserts another? Does she know how many large capacity magazines already exist? Does she know how easy they are to make?

Evidence? Marian Wight Edelman has no interest in evidence.

BK37

April 2nd, 2013
5:05 pm

I consider myself to be on the liberal side of the political spectrum, but I have no problem with guns or responsible gun ownership. That being said, we need to realize that, when it comes to the NRA’s leadership, we’re not dealing with a full deck. People like Wayne LaPierre keep trying to convince people that Obama is coming to take away their guns, and nothing could be further from the truth.

Bob, I seriously doubt that you or your children face the same type of threats as the President, so please stop with that line of “if he can send his kids to school with armed guards, then so can I.”

jake

April 2nd, 2013
5:10 pm

Now that is reality from Clutch,take notes people.You could ban all guns,and you will still have criminals with guns,knives,and many other weapons.This is not Europe, guns have been in our culture for many moons,they are embedded in our society. First response from NRA was to protect our children,obama’s first response was to ban guns,not once did he suggest secure our schools.Nra will not give in because they know where the aministration is headed.No matter how much people has deamonized the NRA and lawful gun owners,they never gave up on our kids,as they continue to fight for the constitution,as they always have,and for the last 20 years,the Govt,has been trying to ban weapons.Think about it,If they really believed that we would be safer,why ban the guns and mags,and let us keep them?but register?We all know where we are headed to socialism, and they cannot achieve this with the bill of rights in place,FACT.There is obviously a lot that some of you do not know about,Put aside your wants,and use logic,crime will get worse, police will be too busy on other calls as they are in Chicago, the more gun control they have, the worst it gets, or have you not noticed. The once lawful gun owner can not fight back. Been there,i have seen it.Good luck with your agenda.

William Casey

April 2nd, 2013
5:18 pm

@GB101: Let’s try the experiment in Georgia and gather the evidence you seek.

jake

April 2nd, 2013
5:29 pm

As for why we need guards in schools, the criminal individuals will always be active, If you think you have better odds on saving our loved ones without a weapon, go for it.It is not a guarantee for total success with a gun, but your odds are better.

No

April 2nd, 2013
5:35 pm

Think of it this way: there’s 1 cop for about every 400 people in the US, and since most schools are at least that size shouldnt they be appropriated a cop/security? You’ve got a huge group of citizens captive and contained 8 hours a day, so it should really even be easier for the police than if they tried to serve that many citizens throughout their jurisdiction

jake

April 2nd, 2013
5:45 pm

The town I live in has worked so far, we are are all armed to teeth, but we are a rural area in Indiana. There still is the nut cases out there, who knows when they get there urge.

jake

April 2nd, 2013
5:50 pm

I always agree on law enforcement in schools,they are trained.I had it, and it worked,even the dean had a .38.

jrhche

April 2nd, 2013
5:56 pm

Who is going to pay for all these new guns, gun training, hired guards and additional liability insurance for every school in US – the cost has to be staggering?? I thought we were under a severe budget crisis?? Are we looking at more tax increases?? Or does the NRA propose to cover all these costs?? I suspect this NRA Study did not assess the short and long term costs. Perhaps this is a chance for the NRA to put their money where their mouth is…

BK37

April 2nd, 2013
6:02 pm

Oh Jesus, we have someone who resorted to the “socialist” attack. I figured it wouldn’t be long.

Texas Pete

April 2nd, 2013
6:06 pm

Speaking of “playing on fears”, it is funny how the rationale behind gun control is to keep kids safe. What about adults?

Luny

April 2nd, 2013
6:11 pm

@Mikey D. – there are 2 parts to the 2nd Amendment, whereas “well regulated” refers to the state militia. You know, “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state”. Then there is the second part – “the right of the people to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” In the Constitution, it is the only Amendment that contains the wording “shall not be infringed”. So, still wanna discuss the 2nd Amendment Mikey?

GB

April 2nd, 2013
6:13 pm

William Casey

So you think she is right? You think that there is evidence that the kinds of gun control she and her organization favor work?

Incidentally, I do not favor any proposal to arm people in all schools. Guards or teachers or whatever.

I do favor eliminating any rules that prevent teachers, coaches, staff from having legal weapons at school. But this should be a local decision. If Chicago wants to tell teachers they must leave their guns at home, that is fine with me.

As for armed guards, that too is should be a local decision. If the Atlanta school board believes armed guards are needed in some schools or all, board members can vote to do it and local taxpayers can pay for it. If the Union County school officials think that no guards are needed, that is their choice.

LIBERAL Progressive and damn proud of it.

April 2nd, 2013
6:15 pm

This is what we’re reduced to, armed kindergartens, middle schools, high schools, churches? Give me a freaking break. This is stupid. It’s outrageous that a so-called civilized society is so damn violent, so damned agressive, that we need armed guards to protect children. It’s BS. The goddamned 2nd Ammendment does not grant the right to terrorize the country. Gun ownership should be strictly regulated and that can be accomplished without affecting anyone’s rights in the slightest. No matter what your argument is for preserving your rights, it doesn’t trump my right to live in a world free of gun violence.

Progressive Humanist

April 2nd, 2013
6:30 pm

I have no problem with armed police officers on school grounds. I was glad to have three full time officers at the high school where I used to teach. But staff members do not need to be armed. Principals, teachers, etc. are there to educate. That’s what their job description entails and that’s what they’re trained to do. They are not trained in the use of force, nor should the use of firearms be part of their job description. Educators should educate. Officers should keep the peace.

Craig

April 2nd, 2013
6:39 pm

Maureen you are so right! I sold guns of all types for over 10 years and the only time that our sales shoot through the roof no pun intended was when a democratic president is elected. The NRA membership spread the rumor that the democrats are going to ban all guns.The mere talk of banning assault weapons increased sales to record numbers. AR15 are designed to hunt people not deer and the people who buy such weapons know this. I remember when the Street Sweeper was banned it didn’t cause much of a commotion because those weapons where used mainly by gang members and the NRA keep silent while those weapons where banned. The assault rifle in the preferred weapon of white gangs. The gun industry use the 2nd amendment to keep their sales up.

No Way, NRA

April 2nd, 2013
6:40 pm

That’ll be the day I begin homeschooling. NRA, paws off our kids’ schools.