President’s Column | Arming School Staff Offers Stronger Protection For Our Students

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posted on March 19, 2019
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All law-abiding, sane Americans agree: One of our country’s top priorities should be ensuring the safety of our school children. For decades, protecting our children has been a central focus of the National Rifle Association.

Through the NRA's Eddie Eagle GunSafe program, we’ve taught more than 30 million young children to be safe if they happen to find a firearm. Presented by school districts, police departments, fire stations and local community groups, Eddie Eagle’s lifesaving message “Stop. Don’t Touch. Run Away. Tell a Grownup” has undoubtedly saved young lives and helped significantly reduce the firearm accident rate involving children too young to be around a firearm.

More recently, in response to tragedies wrought by deranged criminals at American schools, the NRA has stood firm in calling for the immediate implementation of armed professional security in our schools. Armed security makes good common sense. After all, we protect our banks, sports stadiums and office buildings with armed guards. Surely, our children are more important and deserve at least that level of protection!

The NRA has been attacked for proposing that the surest way to stop a madman mass-killer with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Yet, nearly every crazed mass shooting has ended when good guys with guns—whether it be the police or an armed citizen—have come running to the scene of the tragedy. Good guys with guns work.

Not long ago, a Florida state commission investigated the Valentine’s Day 2018 murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The national news media largely ignored the commission’s report, no doubt because it agreed with the NRA.

By a 13–1 vote, the safety commission recommended that the Florida state Legislature enact a proposal for teachers who undergo proper training to be allowed to carry firearms at Florida schools.

As we have come to expect, the recommendation was criticized by the Disarm America Movement and Second Amendment opponents. Indeed, the usual calls rang out for more gun control measures: banning semi-automatic firearms, so-called “red flag” laws, raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm and more.

We don’t need just one good guy with a gun protecting our children. We need a bunch of good guys—well-trained security professionals who could include teachers, counselors, coaches and administrators. No one cares more about schoolchildren than they do, and they should be given full support to ensure the safety of their students.

The question is no longer whether or not armed security (including teachers) should be in schools, but it’s how many school districts and states have already implemented it.

Since the NRA launched its School Shield program to offer free assistance to schools and school districts, the response has been overwhelming. State legislatures, districts and independent schools have been hardening facilities, seeking firearm-training programs and putting armed personnel on campuses all over the country.

For example, the Wyoming state Legislature is considering a measure to override local gun control laws to allow its citizens to carry firearms on school grounds and in other public places. The bill, which reportedly has widespread support in both legislative chambers, not only would repeal most gun-free zones across the state, but also allow the carrying of concealed firearms anywhere in the state for permit holders.

Casper, Wyo., Vice Mayor Shawn Johnson, noting that many mass shootings have occurred in gun-free zones, said: “I always think that the more responsible people who have a concealed weapon on them, the safer we are.”

In Ohio, firearm-training programs for teachers are overflowing with applicants. One trainee, a football coach at a small Ohio high school, explained why he sought training to carry a gun at school. “I think about what is right and wrong,” he said. “If a kid gets shot in a hallway, it would be wrong for me not to go out and stop it.”

That statement defines the heroism of every brave man and woman who has made the serious decision, sought the proper training and undertaken the responsibility of carrying a firearm to protect the school children they care so much about.

I’m asking every NRA member with a child or grandchild in school to urge your school boards, principals, teachers and local law enforcement to contact our NRA School Shield team at www.NRASchoolShield.org and schedule a free assessment. Doing so will make your loved ones safer in the classroom. And the NRA is here to help.

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