Patch Poll: Do You Think the NRA Is Using the Sandy Hook Tragedy for Political Purposes?
The National Rifle Association vice president made the suggestion to put armed guards in schools at a press conference Friday.
On Friday, the National Rifle Association's vice president, Wayne LaPierre, spoke at a news conference where he called for armed security in the nation's schools.
LaPierre spoke about a new kind of American domestic security revolving around armed civilians, and argued that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
His speech called supporters to mobilize around a new vision of American domestic security, at a time when voices for gun control are steadily rising. On the opposite side of gun control advocates are gun owners, many of whom fear their Second Amendment rights could be in jeopardy if gun control of any kind is enacted.
Views about using guns to protect school children vary widely, and there's been a lot of discussion about the issue in newpapers, online media, radio, television and social media networks.
The New York Times reported that some teachers, parents and police question the NRA's proposal, and some educators have pointed out with dismay that the same people who want to get rid of teachers unions now want those teachers to carry arms.
The National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers issued a joint statement Thursday, saying that recent calls for teachers and school administrators to be armed with guns is the wrong approach to school safety. The right approach, they said, is a boost in mental health services, bully prevention and reasonable gun control legislation.
Craig Steckler, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said in the New York Times story that the rifle association’s proposal unrealistic and probably unwise.
There are already districts that employ armed off-duty police officers as a presence in schools. But putting at least one officer in each of the nation’s schools could mean hiring as many as 100,000 people, Steckler said, at a time that qualified applicants are already scarce.
Not only that, but education budgets have already been slashed in many states and the cost of security could eat into the already-tight academic budgets at a time when many people are unwilling to pay more in school taxes.
So, do you think the NRA has the safety of children at the heart of its proposal? Or is this, as some claim, a move that would advance the interests of gun manufacturers (who would sell more guns) or continue to polarize the discussion over gun control policy in the United States?
What do you think? Vote in our poll or tell us your ideas in the comments section below.