The Bismarck, N.D., Police Department has put in a budget request for 2019 seeking more than $25,000 for the purchase of AR-15s and related equipment that would be used to safeguard schools during any armed attack. The rifles would be stored in locked safes at Bismarck schools and would be used to thwart any school shootings.
The funding would be split between the police department and the school system, with police money being used to buy the rifles themselves and school money going toward gun safes, bulletproof vests and medical kits.
The budget request has not yet been approved, but if the city council gives its nod, the money would be available in January.
The decision was made in response to the February attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“I fully believe that we have some solid preventative measures in place, and generally, our schools are safe, but we have to do everything we can to be prepared for something if it did happen," Bismarck Police Lt. Jason Stugelmeyer told a reporter.
Bismarck is following the lead of other school districts in North Dakota. Grand Forks and Fargo already have such rifles available to school resource officers.
The move is in keeping with much of the data that show the efficacy of having armed staff on campuses, and the NRA School Shield program has been available to help school districts better prepare against shootings—not just in terms of promoting an armed presence, but also in that the NRA School Shield seminars train people how to assess a school’s physical security.