January 31, 2013

Your Turn: Guns in Schools

Do staff members carrying guns make schools safer or more dangerous?

Maggie: Both sides of that debate spoke at a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday.

In support of stronger gun laws, former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who is still recovering from brain damage she suffered when she was shot in the head two years ago.

Gabrielle Giffords: Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something.

Maggie: On the other side, opponents to gun control legislation, like the head of the gun rights group the National Rifle Association.

Wayne LaPierre: We need to be honest about what works and what does not work. Proposals that would only serve to burden the law-abiding have failed in the past and they’ll fail again in the future.

Maggie: La Pierre spoke out against recent gun control proposals, like additional background checks, saying they won’t work because criminals will still get guns illegally. And getting any new laws passed in Congress will be tough. Republicans, as well as many Democratic senators, remain strong supporters of gun rights.

Since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, lawmakers and school officials have been debating ways to keep our schools safe. Julian Dujarric has that part of the story.

Julian: Should every school have an armed guard?

Kevin Pena: I’d give my life for any of these kids, you know. I think kids are a precious thing.

Julian: Should teachers carry guns to school?

Alyssa Reyes: Yes, because I feel like that’s more protection for students and themselves in a situation that might be disastrous for us.

Julian: Should students be offered gun courses?

Parent: I would definitely let my children take it. I mean, in this day in age.

Julian: According to an NBC News report, at least 18 states already have laws that allow adults, including teachers, to bring a loaded weapon onto school campuses if they have the right permits or the school’s permission. And now a dozen more states are considering lifting some bans on guns in schools.

Jessica Decker: If we have even just two or three teachers in the school that are protected or that can protect the kids like that, I think that can really make a difference.

Julian: Critics warn, more guns won’t solve the problem.

Tamisha: There’s already gun violence with young teens, so why create the knowledge of it?

Megan Kreisher: It’s kind of scary just to think about having guns in a school full of children.

Julian: In Fontana, California, security guards armed with high-powered weapons are already patrolling school halls.

Expert: They’re similar to the platform of what you would see on an AF-15 or M16.

Julian: Last October, the district spent $14,000 to equip each of its 14 officers with a semi-automatic rifle. School board member Sophia Green says the money would be better spent on counseling a troubled student.

Sophia Green: It will be like a bloodbath. He has a gun, the police has a gun. I don’t think that’s the avenue we want to take.

Julian: Julian Dujarric, Channel One News.

Maggie: Thanks, Julian.

And now it is your turn to tell us what you think. Do staff members carrying guns make schools safer or more dangerous? Head on over to or our Facebook page to vote, and your comment might just end up on the show.


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