The National Rifle Association today released a plan calling for more armed personnel in schools — and pitching itself as a school safety trainer.
The gun-rights lobby, which claims five million members, is spending $1 million on what it calls the National School Shield, accordingt to former Arkansas Rep. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican paid consultant to the NRA and director of its schools project.
In the days after a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren and six educators at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre said schools should increase security measures, including arming teachers and hiring more school officers, while opposing federal legislation such as expanded background checks for gun-buyers and limits on certain weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.
At today’s press conference in Washington, Hutchinson reiterated that sentiment.
Among the eight recommendations in a 225-page report Hutchinson delivered to the NRA: The group should serve as the nation’s premier advocate and trainer for school safety while the federal government should focus on doling out money to school districts that need it to improve safety.
“The NRA has the nationally recognized expertise to develop and implement the stringent training courses” recommended by Hutchinson’s team, the report says. Grants to help pay for new school officers and security measures such as heavier doors and metal detectors could be administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the report suggests. It doesn’t recommend a specific dollar amount.
The NRA released a statement after the press conference saying its officials “need time to digest the full report” yet is confident that Hutchinson and his team’s recommendations “will go a long way to making America’s schools safer.”
Laura Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington legislative office, called the NRA plan “radical.”
She called on Congress to “reject any proposal that militarizes our schools.”