The Properly Trained—Armed—Good Guy
Today, Wayne LaPierre and the NRA broke its silence and laid out a common sense plan to ensure the safety of our schools in the wake of the Newtown tragedy.
LaPierre began by acknowledging that there isn’t a national, one-size-fits-all solution to protect our children and called on Congress to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school—and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January.
Excerpts from the NRA’s Press Conference
We need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work—and by that I mean armed security.
Right now, today, every school in the United States should plan meetings with parents, school administrators, teachers and local authorities—and draw upon every resource available—to erect a cordon of protection around our kids right now. Every school will have a different solution based on its own unique situation.
Every school in America needs to immediately identify, dedicate and deploy the resources necessary to put these security forces in place right now. And the National Rifle Association, as America’s preeminent trainer of law enforcement and security personnel for the past 50 years, is ready, willing and uniquely qualified to help.
Our training programs are the most advanced in the world. That expertise must be brought to bear to protect our schools and our children now. We did it for the nation’s defense industries and military installations during World War II, and we’ll do it for our schools today.
The NRA is going to bring all of its knowledge, dedication and resources to develop a model National School Shield Emergency Response Program for every school that wants it. From armed security to building design and access control to information technology to student and teacher training, the very best experts in their fields will develop this multi-faceted program.
Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson will lead this effort as National Director of the National School Shield Program, with a budget provided by the NRA of whatever scope the task requires.
That’s a plan of action that can, and will, make a real, positive and indisputable difference in the safety of our children—starting right now.
I envision this initiative will have two key elements: First, it would be based on a model security plan—a comprehensive strategy for school security based on the latest, most up-to-date technical information from the foremost experts in their fields.
This model security plan will serve as a template—a set of best practices, principles and guidelines that every school in America can tweak, if needed, and tailor to its own set of circumstances.
Every school and community is different, but this model security plan will allow every school to choose among its various components to develop a school safety strategy that fits its own unique situation, whether it’s a large urban school, a small rural school or anything in between.
Armed, trained, qualified school security personnel will be one element of the plan, but by no means the only element. If a school decides for whatever reason it doesn’t want or need armed security personnel that of course is a decision to be made by parents at the local level.
The second point I want to make is that this will be a program that doesn’t depend on massive funding from local authorities or the federal government. Instead, it’ll make use of local volunteers serving in their own communities.
In my [Asa Hutchinson] home state of Arkansas, my son was a volunteer with a local group called “Watchdog Dads,” who volunteer their time at schools to patrol playgrounds and provide a measure of added security.
Whether they’re retired police, retired military or rescue personnel, I think there are people in every community in this country, who would be happy to serve, if only someone asked them and gave them the training and certification to do so.
The National Rifle Association is the natural, obvious choice to sponsor this program. Its gun safety, marksmanship and hunter education programs have set the standard for well over a century. Over the past 25 years, its Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program has taught over 26 million kids that real guns aren’t toys and, today, child gun accidents are at the lowest levels ever recorded.
School safety is a complex issue with no simple, single solution. But I believe trained, qualified, armed security is one key component among many that can provide the first line of deterrence as well as the last line of defense.
You can download a complete copy of the transcript here.