Teachers, school superintendents, mayors and police chiefs in Connecticut are rejecting the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) response to the shooting in Newtown, describing the gun lobby’s proposal to equip schools with armed guards and more guns as too simplistic, shameful, and opportunistic.
One Connecticut school superintendent dismissed the NRA’s suggestion as “an ill-conceived reaction from an organization that does not have any credibility or expertise with respect to addressing school violence” and said that the idea “is an excuse for not addressing the need to enact meaningful safe gun legislation in conjunction with an investment in mental health services.” Putnam Police Chief Rick Hayes called the proposal “scary,” noting that teachers can’t possibly have the kind of training necessary to safely handle large weapons.
In fact, newspaper headlines across the state flatly rejected militarizing Connecticut schools:
The growing outrage against the organization extends beyond school officials — even state Republican politicians are weary of eliminating school gun-free zones. Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R), whose district includes Sandy Hook Elementary School, called the proposal “ill-timed.” “I also don’t think his idea of undoing or repealing gun-free school zones is a good idea at all,” he said. “I’ve always understood, and believe, that our Second Amendment is an integral part of our Constitution, and people should have the right to bear arms … but I think we should have a fair conversation in this country about what the limits to those rights are.”
Schools across the state are enacting greater security measures, but more guns aren’t on the agenda. Instead, districts are focusing on adding interior classroom door locks, expanding swipe-card access and requiring staff to wear photo identification.
Tom Moore, assistant superintendent for administration for West Hartford schools, told the Hartford Courant that his district “won’t be taking our advice on how to keep kids safe from the president of the NRA.” He added, “I come from a family of hunters; I have four brothers who are hunters and members of the NRA. All I’ll be asking for for Christmas, after hearing Wayne LaPierre essentially blame school officials for the shootings, is for [my brothers] to resign from the NRA.”