Is NRA’s Wayne LaPierre a “loon” or quicker on the draw than his critics?
But the idea of armed police officers in schools seemed sound enough to the NRA’s critics back in April 2000. A year after the shooting deaths at Columbine High School, then-president Bill Clinton announced $60 million in new federal funding to expand the Justice Department’s “COPS in School” program. In addition to the 2,200 officers that had already been posted in 1,000 communities nationwide, the money was to be used to add another 452 officers and 220 communities.
An Associated Press survey of 1,016 parents nationwide conducted four months after the Columbine shootings found that by a 2:1 margin, respondents thought that having a police presence in schools would reduce violence (65 percent to 33 percent).
By the way, then as now, the NRA, conservative politicians and concerned parents cited violent entertainment as being one factor driving school shootings – a topic LaPierre’s statement also included, and was just as vigorously derided as his recommendation to station armed police officers in schools.
In a recent Los Angeles Times op-ed by attorney David Kopel that cites several instances of an active shooter unlucky enough not to be going about his lethal business in a gun-free zone was stopped by an armed defender, the Second Amendment expert shoots down the objections of anti-gun zealots to arming school personnel and recommends laws in UT and TX as models for school districts to adopt:
Anti-gun ideologues invent all sorts of fantasy scenarios about the harms that could be caused by armed teachers. But the Utah law has been in effect since 1995, and Texas' since 2008, with not a single problem.
Gun prohibitionists also insist that armed teachers or even armed school guards won't make a difference. But in the real world, they have – even at Columbine, where the armed "school resource officer" (a sheriff's deputy, in this case) was in the parking lot when the first shots were fired. The officer twice fired long-distance shots and drove the killers off the school patio, saving the lives of wounded students there. Atrociously, however, the officer failed to pursue the killers into the building. …
Teachers who are already licensed to carry a gun everywhere else in the state should not be prevented from protecting the children in their care.
Despite the strenuous objections of teachers’ unions over teachers and school administrators packing heat on the job, educators in FL, OH, TX, UT and other states are flocking to gun ranges offering free marksmanship lessons and concealed carry permit classes. Palm Beach County School Board member Jenny Prior Brown tells The Palm Beach Post, “It is a terrible feeling to feel helpless.”
While anti-gun crusaders and their media allies have dismissed LaPierre’s idea of armed guards patrolling schools out-of-hand, it’s starting to catch on – even with some liberals in Congress and Blue State school officials. Last month, the Butler County (PA) School Board decided to hire 22 state troopers who had retired after at least 20 years on the job and owned their own guns to guard the 7,500 students attending its 14 schools, and legislation to put armed guards in schools has been proposed in a dozen states. And now, the Newtown Board of Education wants armed police to remain at the town’s four elementary schools indefinitely, and are meeting with state and federal officials about additional funding for the upcoming fiscal year. Debbie Leidlein, who chairs the local Board of Education tells NBCConnecticut.com that, “Our parents are demanding of us that things are made safe and secure and certain measures are put in place.”
Just last week, a 15-year-old student at an Atlanta middle school got a handgun through the metal detector and allegedly shot at least three rounds at a 14-year-old student, who was treated at a local hospital and released. An off-duty armed guard at the school disarmed the shooter.
It’s been six weeks since LaPierre made his “controversial” remarks, and he doesn’t sound like the far-out-of-the-mainstream loon his critics made him out to be, does he? Not that they’ll apologize or give his ideas serious consideration because they don’t want to lose sight of what’s important. No, not the safety of school children. The promotion of a political agenda that elects Blue State politicians, keeps activists salaried and provides elites in academia, entertainment and business a platform from which to spout anti-Second Amendment rhetoric.