The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

April 2, 2013

NRA calls for armed guards at all schools

Plan unveiled Tuesday

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

The report arrives as Congress and a long list of state legislatures are debating how best to keep firearms out of the hands of violent people. In direct response to the Newtown shooting, for instance, state lawmakers in Connecticut are close to passing some of the toughest gun restrictions in the country, including an extension of the state's assault weapons ban and an expansion of criminal background checks to precede all gun sales.

Hutchinson on Tuesday called those steps "totally inadequate," suggesting that school-safety efforts have nothing to do with gun control.

"You can address assault weapons and it doesn't stop someone bringing in a .45 caliber firearm into the school. It doesn't stop violence in the school," he said. "So if you're going to protect children, you have to do something about school safety and enhancing our safety matrix in school.

"I have not focused on the separate debate in Congress about firearms and how they should be handled," he added.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) wasted no time blasting the recommendations as misguided.

"Schools must be safe, nurturing learning environments for our students, which is why we are opposed to proposals to arm educators or turn our schools into armed fortresses," AFT President Randi Weingarten said Tuesday in a statement. "Safety personnel and safety plans have their place in schools, but we must leave those decisions to the people who know our schools best—not to those acting as a proxy for gun manufacturers."

The NRA maintains that Hutchinson and the task force acted with its funding, but not its input. The NRA issued a brief statement Tuesday intended to emphasize that separation.

"We need time to digest the full report," it said.

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