NRA ReformThe NRA's response to the Sandy Hook massacre seems to be more guns.
By: Eddy Urena, Sibley Scribe
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December – the second most deadly school shooting in American history – has caused the National Rifle Association to come under fire. At first, the NRA kept quiet out of respect, but eventually, they released a somewhat controversial formal statement. The National Rifle Association wants armed school security officers at every school in the United States. Citing the fact that we protect our most important people with armed guards, Vice President of the NRA Wayne LaPierre suggested we do the same for children. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said LaPierre. Many school administrators, law enforcement officials and politicians are in opposition to the idea.
After the massacre at Sandy Hook, President Obama called together a series of meetings with mental health professionals, law enforcement professionals, the NRA, and others, led by Vice President Joe Biden, to try to come up with solutions to end this kind of gun violence. It is unclear if LaPierre and the president of the N.R.A., David Kenne are working with President Obama, though, since they have their own set of proposals now. The NRA says that it is uniquely qualified to train additional armed guards at schools. These could be retired police officers or military officers, or fire and rescue or security professionals. LaPierre said that his organization would finance and develop a program called the National School Shield Emergency Response Program and it would be available to any school that wants it. This program would consider school building design, information technology used for school protection, and student and teacher training.
About 28,000, around one-third, of public schools have armed guards, but when that’s narrowed down to high schools, the proportion jumps to about two-thirds (or 68%). Arming security officers is not something new, as districts in cities including Albuquerque, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and St. Louis have armed officers at schools. Some very small districts, such as Harrold ISD in rural Texas, allow teachers and administrators who have gun licenses and agree to get additional training to carry concealed guns at school.
What is clear is that this time, in President Obama’s words, it really is different. What is not clear is what exactly will be done to reduce this kind of gun violence that seems to be infecting American schools.
Sources used in this article : “School Officials Look Again at Security Measures Once Dismissed” in the New York Times ; the NRA’s full statement by Wayne LaPierre in response to the Newtown shootings as published in The Guardian.