December 22, 2012 / 12:00 AM / 5 years ago

Reaction to the NRA call for armed police in U.S. schools

(Reuters) - The National Rifle Association, the powerful U.S. gun lobby group, has called for armed police to be stationed in all U.S. schools in response to the massacre last week of 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

Here are some reactions to the NRA statement.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

"The NRA's Washington leadership has long been out of step with its members, and never has that been so apparent as this morning. Their press conference was a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country. Instead of offering solutions to a problem they have helped create, they offered a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe.

"Today the NRA's lobbyists blamed everyone but themselves for the crisis of gun violence. While they promote armed guards, they continue to oppose the most basic and common sense steps we can take to save lives - not only in schools, but in our movie theaters, malls, and streets. Enough."

Newtown United, a local group launched after the shooting to support victims' families and push for gun control:

"Newtown United stands with the children, the teachers, the community, and the families touched by the massacre of innocent lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14. We are united with the country to drive national efforts to turn the tide on gun violence. We are dedicated to ensuring the senseless act of violence that occurred in Newtown is never repeated."

Todd Rollins, board member with the Uinta School District in southwestern Wyoming:

"It might be something to consider. For me, personally, an armed guard or a teacher or principal with a gun could deter somebody with guns a-blazing. It might stop him in his tracks."

Jimmy Weeks, superintendent of the Lee County Public School District in northern Mississippi:

"We won't have armed police officers at every school. We have school resource officers at five of our locations already. They're certified, and they are armed. But the possibility of having one at every school across the country is a pretty far-reaching goal, I think - one that would be almost impossible unless police departments are willing to do it."

New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly:

"There's no guarantee that the first person a mass killer targeted wouldn't be any armed guard, especially a suicidal killer with nothing to lose. I had hoped that the NRA was going to announce its support for meaningful gun control. I was disappointed, but not particularly surprised."

Brian Giattina, Birmingham, Alabama, school board member:

"For me, it sends the wrong message to the children, the teachers and the parents. It tells them we have to have a gun to protect them. It is a complex problem that needs to involve mental health, education, law enforcement and the community."

Bill Cissna, resident of Kernersville, North Carolina:

"I believe it's the same people who want to hire armed guards for each school who would also fight tooth and nail to not raise taxes to pay for such a significant expense."

Mike Lewis, resident of Miami:

"We need to stop the violence. Outlaw violent video games, movies, TV shows, music, etc. There is no need for what the media is pushing on our kids."

Chris Ennis, 37, of Denver, Colorado, son of a long-time English teacher and father of a son entering kindergarten:

"Growing up in rural Tennessee, I shot my first gun on my grandfather's farm at 7 years old. While I appreciate firearms as a method of sport in hunting and personal safety, I feel strongly that the NRA's suggestion to post armed guards in schools is misguided and lacks the altruism necessary at a time like this. I can't help but think that with armed guards on duty, our schools only lack iron bars and a perimeter of barbed wire from becoming a prison."

Joie Cadle, president of the Florida School Boards Association:

"The much bigger question is why in the world do just regular citizens need to have assault weapons that are meant to kill and that have so many rounds that are shot at one time. ... It's not usually a handgun, it's not usually a hunting rifle that they're going into the schools and doing these mass murders, like in Colorado. I think we as a nation and in the communities really need to look at why do we need these assault weapons available and how do we get them off the streets."

Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, the largest teachers union in the United States:

"If your purpose is to reduce gun violence in schools, then the solution isn't to add more guns to schools."

Brian Rohrbough, whose 15-year-old son, Dan, was killed in the Columbine, Colorado, school shooting in 1999:

"It certainly wouldn't hurt to have someone who is armed - even a teacher - who has the courage to protect the children at schools. If new laws are passed, the test must be, would this have stopped Columbine, Virginia Tech or the Connecticut shootings? New laws shouldn't be passed just based on anyone's political agenda."

Mike Schmidt, principal of Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado, where in 2006 a gunman entered the school, took hostages and killed a 16-year-old girl:

"You would have to guarantee that an officer will be there without any gaps. ... When these shootings happen, people are always looking for one solution and there isn't one."

U.S. Representative George Miller of California, ranking Democrat on the House Education and Workforce committee:

"To the NRA, gun violence is never about semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. Never. But to a majority of parents across the country, mass shootings and gun violence have everything to do with those types of assault weapons and people who have lost their minds. Congress needs to ban high-capacity clips, reinstate a sensible ban on assault weapons, and dramatically increase access to quality mental healthcare in America as part of our effort to reduce gun violence."

Reporting by Chris Francescani, Emily Le Coz, Verna Gates, Barbara Liston, Laura Zuckerman, Keith Coffman, Susan Heavey; Editing by Jim Loney and Bill Trott

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