NRA chief: School idea not off the wall

Dec. 23, 2012 at 3:30 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The president of the National Rifle Association said Sunday posting a police officer in every school wasn't so far-fetched and has been in practice for years.

Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday, David Keene said about 23,000 U.S. schools already had armed security guards patrolling the halls and the concept was endorsed by President Clinton after the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Colorado.

"What we were saying is that really the question that parents across this country are asking is how do we protect our kids?" Keene said.

Sen. Kay Bailey-Hutchinson, R-Texas, said the 23,000 schools amount to roughly two-thirds of the schools in the United States and told CNN's "State of the Union" it would cost about $2 billion to create a federal program to place armed police in every school. "It always should be an option that the local school board finally makes the decision," she said. "So I can understand skepticism, but I think that school safety is the debate."

Asa Hutchinson, a former congressman who is taking the lead in the NRA's controversial school proposal said having a police officer or some other armed guard on duty in each and every school should be voluntary and up to local school districts.

"If you have a choice of sending your child to a school that has that type of protection versus not, I think most people in America would say, let's go to what would be the school that invests in that type of safety and security," Hutchinson said on ABC's "This Week."

The NRA leadership, which was out in force for the weekly Sunday television news shows, called its proposal to increase armed security at U.S. schools the best short-term solution to the threat of unbalance killers storming a relatively unprotected school building.

"If it's crazy to call for putting police in and securing our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy," NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told NBC's "Meet the Press." "I think the American people think it's crazy not to do it. It's the one thing that would keep people safe and the NRA is going try to do that."

One Republican senator argued there was unlikely any type of law the federal government could implement that would effectively prevent incidents like the one in Connecticut. "I think we can get a false sense of security from Washington, and in passing more laws," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said on "Fox News Sunday. "We need real solutions to a significant problem in our country, and I'm not sure passing another law in Washington is going to actually find a real solution."

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