Julian: The National Rifle Association is out with an eight-step proposal to beef up school safety.
Asa Hutchinson: This report includes everything from best practices to technology to a review of surveillance.
Julian: Former Republican Congressman Asa Hutchinson is heading up the NRA’s National School Shield Program. He says the recommendations came after a three-month study assessing school security across the country. Topping the list? Mandatory intensive training for armed guards at school and optional training for teachers.
Hutchinson: Teachers should teach. But if there is a personnel that has good experience, that has an interest in it, and is willing to go through this training of, again 40-60 hours that is totally comprehensive, then that is an appropriate resource that a school should be able to utilize.
Julian: The NRA proposals are also calling for things like revised state laws which would allow school staffers to carry a firearm if they are going through training programs. It would also call for better communication between schools and law enforcement agencies, online web tools for schools to assess security threats, and also a pilot mental health program to help assess threats like bullying.
Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter represents Aurora, Colorado where twelve people were killed in a movie theater shooting last July. He says he has mixed feelings about the NRA proposals.
Congressman Ed Perlmutter: To have more guns around schools I don’t think adds to the safety of schools, but to have trained police officers as resource officers at schools, I think makes sense.
Julian: Meantime, three-and-a-half months after the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, lawmakers are voting today on whether to pass the nation’s toughest gun control bill. The bill calls for universal background checks for all firearm sales. It also expands the state’s assault weapons ban and requires eligibility certificates to buy a shotgun, a rifle, or ammunition.
As states react to school violence, President Obama is continuing his campaign for tougher gun control. He is visiting a Colorado police academy tomorrow to drum up public support for new legislation.
Julian Dujarric, Channel One News.