NRA chief calls for tighter security in schools - and points fingers

Henrietta Brewer
February 25, 2018

President Donald Trump is floating a unique two-step move on gun control.

Trump was leaving the White House to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference when he said: "When it came time to get in there and do something", Florida deputy Scot Peterson "didn't have the courage or something happened". Numerous teenagers and their parents taking part have called for more curbs on guns. His arguments were similar to those an Alabama lawmaker made the same day while proposing near identical legislation.

"It should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it and I'm pissed". Referring to the Legislature, he added: "Nobodys willing to get off the dime and do something about it". A "gun free" school is a magnet for bad people.

He says the district needs the guardian program to keep students safe because Cooke County is so large (it's nearly 900 square miles and runs from just north of Dallas to the Oklahoma state line) it could take sheriff's deputies several minutes to respond to something like a shooting at the school.

Pinellas County superintendent Mike Grego called the proposal "worrisome", noting it would open the door for someone to carry a firearm without a "tremendous amount of training".

"Now, they have to be very adept". A gun-free zone to a killer or somebody who wants to be a killer, that's like going in for the ice cream. I think it's insane.

Area leaders shared some common concerns.

Brock Cartwright, the superintendent in Claude, Texas, won't reveal how many or who among his teachers is armed, but the district's message to potential intruders blares in capital letters in three signs: "Please be aware that the staff at Claude ISD is armed and may use whatever force necessary to protect our students". In 2013, after the Aurora theatre shooting was followed by the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, Colorado's Democrat-controlled state legislature passed a package of gun restrictions, including universal background checks and a ban on magazines that hold more than 15 bullets.

"Its ludicrous. Whos going to buy the guns?"

"If that's true, let's just go ahead and remove it from everywhere", said LaPierre.

"If you're an educator, you know [arming teachers] is not a solution to stopping the violence that's happening in our schools", Wheaton told INSIDER in an email.

Spokesman Raj Shah later said Trump was concerned about the name and would prefer calling them safety drills.

When asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt about arming teachers, the US education secretary, Betsy DeVos, said states "clearly have the opportunity and the option to do that".

The debate breaches statehouse walls.

Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for the Virginia-based group, said the organization doesn't hesitate to oppose Republican incumbents and candidates whom it deems not sufficiently "pro-gun".

A better solution for many?

"I do think it would be a deterrent, there's no doubt", he said.

Several leaders said lawmakers should make it more hard to get guns, rather than looking to arm educators.

One thing I've learned in my twenty-two years as a Chicago Public Schools teacher is this: I carry the responsibility of making students feel safe in my classroom. "So many existing laws were ignored".

President Donald Trump endorsed stricter gun-control measures Thursday, including raising the minimum age to 21 for possessing a broader range of weapons than at present. What is this, the wild west? "Government does not have to be slow or lethargic, and when it comes to protecting our schools and our kids, we need to be swift and decisive".

Pinellas board member Linda Lerner called on her board to pass a resolution to that effect.

With dry eyes, and little apparent emotion, Trump offered the idea of adding more guns to schools, by arming teachers.

"The president has a unique ability right now to maybe really do something about these school shootings", said Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla.

The school safety plan would start by the 2018-19 school year.

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