Americans considering guns in schools

From Virginia to Texas to Missouri, public officials are getting serious about protecting school children.

In Virginia
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.) said on Tuesday that it’s “time to have a discussion” about arming school officials, in wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. 
“If someone had been armed, there would have been a possibility to stop the person from coming into the school,” McDonnell said on Washington’s WTOP radio’s “Ask the Governor” monthly program responding to a caller’s question. “I know there is a knee-jerk reaction against that, but I think we should have a discussion about it.” 
He continued: “If a person [like Sandy Hook’s principal Dawn Hochsprung] was armed and trained, could they have stopped the carnage? Perhaps.” . . .
Missouri (Long article worth reading)
The St. Louis County police have arranged to meet privately this week with education leaders to discuss safety measures — including the possibility of arming some school staff members. 
Police Chief Tim Fitch said the county already employs 33 school resource officers — police assigned to schools — who work in 12 districts and are mostly based in high schools. But concern is now focused on elementary schools, after Friday’s shooting spree that killed 20 students and six staff members in Newtown, Conn. 
Not every district can afford more officers to patrol elementary schools, and the county force can’t pull enough officers off their beats to do it immediately, Fitch said. So, he said, training and arming selected school workers is an option that must be considered. 
“We can talk on the back end of the need for funding of mental illness programs and gun control, but as a law enforcement officer, I’m focused on that five-minute window that it takes for the cops to get there while people are getting killed,” Fitch said. “There is somebody out there right now trying to figure out how to do something worse than this guy did, and there is only one way to end a threat, and that’s with lethal force.” 
Such a proposal would require a change to Missouri law, which forbids anyone but law enforcement from carrying a weapon into a school, noted Roland Corvington, a member of the county’s police board. . . . 
State Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, said he is willing to introduce a teacher-carry bill, but he wants individual jurisdictions to set the standards for their own communities.
"I think, when we're talking about a bill in the General Assembly, it's absolutely essential we make it permissive. And the reason is the security needs in Memphis are not the same as Rutherford County and not the same as Bristol," Carr said.
Carr said he favors setting statewide minimum standards, though, of how the gun-carrying school employees would have their backgrounds checked and trained.
Gov. Bill Haslam said the shooting in Newtown will likely shade the ongoing debate at the Tennessee Capitol over the push to expand the places where gun owners could legally bring their firearms.
"You have this basic conflict between property rights - does that property owner get to say what happens on his or her property - and how that impacts second amendment rights. I don't think the basic discussion has changed," Haslam said.
Legislation was already being drafted that would have allowed gun owners to store their firearms in their cars at workplace parking lots, and that would have included college campuses.
Haslam was not in favor of including schools in that proposal, and the governor did not seem to be receptive to the idea of arming Tennessee teachers. . . . 
Lawmakers and educators in Texas say the way to guard against school shootings like last Friday's at a Connecticut elementary school is to make sure teachers can shoot back. While the rampage that left 20 young children and six adults dead in a small Northeastern community has sparked a national debate on gun control, assault weapons and a culture of violence, David Thweatt, superintendent of the 103-student Harrold Independent School District in Wilbarger County, said his teachers are armed and ready to protect their young charges.“We give our ‘Guardians’ training in addition to the regular Texas conceal-and-carry training,” Thweatt, whose school is about three hours northwest of Dallas, told FoxNews.com.  “It mainly entails improving accuracy…You know, as educators, we don’t have to be police officers and learn about Miranda Rights and related procedures. We just have to be accurate.” . . . .
More on Texas here
Texas Gov. Rick Perry indicated Monday that he supported allowing teachers and administrators to carry concealed handguns in response to the Connecticut school massacre that left 20 children dead.
Local school districts should decide their own policies, Perry said. But if someone has obtained a concealed-handgun license, he said, “you should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state.” He clarified that private property owners should be allowed to impose their own restrictions.
Perry was asked about calls for stricter gun control laws Monday at a tea party forum in North Richland Hills. Perry said that he believed lawmakers should consider mental health issues as well as ways to make schools safer.
“It appears that this was a young man who was very disturbed,” Perry said.
Some school districts across the state already allow school personnel to carry guns. When Perry talked about how he had read about one district allowing teachers, administrators and others to carry weapons, he was interrupted by loud applause from the crowd. . . . 
More in Arizona:

The Attorney General in Arizona has this proposal.
Arizona's Attorney General has proposed a program to train one person at each school in the state to use a firearm in an effort to minimize the risk of a repetition of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
Tom Horne introduced a proposal Wednesday that would allow a school principal or designated staff member to have access to a secured firearm on school grounds and receive training in the use of firearms and emergency management.
The attorney general said in a press release that at least three Arizona sheriffs have endorsed the proposal and other sheriffs are considering participating in the program.
Horne said the state's budget constraints resulted in the legislature reducing funding for school resource officers assigned to schools throughout the state. The ideal situation, he said, would be to have an armed officer in each school. . . .

On the other hand Michigan will still only allow open carry at schools.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has vetoed legislation that would allow concealed weapons in churches, schools and daycare centers. 
The Republican governor said in a release Tuesday that public venues need clear legal authority to ban firearms "if they see fit to do so." . . . 
Under existing law, people may openly carry guns in those and other locations but not concealed weapons. 
Apparently, some teachers (or former teachers) are warming up to the idea.

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Blogger Chas said...

Since it's necessarily only people who are mentally ill who are ending their lives with these mass shootings/suicides, legislation should address the mental health issue directly, and not infringe on the right to bear arms of all Americans in the vague hope of maybe, somehow, eventually, affecting someone who is mentally ill and homicidal/suicidal.
Destroying the rights of millions of sane people, in an inevitably vain attempt to affect a handful of insane people, is not sane policy.

12/19/2012 7:31 PM  

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