NRA Task Force Issues Plan For School Safety

Right after the school shootings in Newtown, Ct., last December, lots of people wondered: What more can we do as a nation to safeguard our children at school? To answer that question, the National Rifle Association appointed a task force. The result? A 225 page proposal that's likely to add fuel to the debate over guns and school safety.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Today, we have dispatches from the fight over gun control.

INSKEEP: President Obama visits Colorado today. He's trying to regain momentum for new federal gun laws, as we'll hear in a moment.

GREENE: We begin with the National Rifle Association. After a school shooting in Connecticut, the NRA called for more guns, not gun control.

INSKEEP: Now, the group has issued a 225-page report on school safety that recommends arming teachers. NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports.

CLAUDIO SANCHEZ, BYLINE: The NRA-appointed task force led by Asa Hutchinson, a former congressman from Arkansas, makes eight recommendations. First, all public schools should have an armed security officer certified under a new, model training program.

ASA HUTCHINSON: The second recommendation is that the states need to consider changing the law so that it allows the firearm to be carried by school personnel when they go through this model training program.

SANCHEZ: Hutchinson says states should lift current restrictions on who - other than school security officers - can carry a firearm; a teacher or administrator, for example.

KEVIN MAYS: What they are suggesting, I believe, are steps in the right direction.

SANCHEZ: Kevin Mays teaches English and journalism at Olathe East High School, just outside Kansas City. He has a concealed-weapons permit, and a gun that he'd like to carry while he's teaching.

MAYS: I'm not looking forward to something like this, sir. I'm not some kind of gun-wielding nut. I would be willing to do it for the sake of the protection of my students.

SANCHEZ: Forget how strange it would be to have armed teachers in front of students, says Francisco Negron, legal counsel at the National School Boards Association. The costs would be huge.

FRANCISCO NEGRON: Because of the potential for liability that would be passed on to the school district.

SANCHEZ: Finally, says Negron, the federal government is not going to pay for any of this. The NRA's task force says the money is there. It's just not being spent on the right things.

Claudio Sanchez, NPR News.

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