Merging an environment of state budget cuts with calls for heavily arming schools, Arizona Attorney-General Tom Horne has suggested arming school principals or “another designee.”
On Friday, the National Rifle Association in a press conference called for there to be armed police officers in every school to prevent attacks along the lines of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, CT, rather than stricter gun control. With state budgets hurting, however, Horne noted that “school resource officers,” members of the police force specially trained to handle instances of juvenile law, emergency response, and student counseling, are on the decline in Arizona schools.
The solution then, to Horne, is to model schools after the post-2001 mandate that airline pilots be armed in plane cabins. In proposing that only principals be armed, Horne believes he is taking a moderate stance:
“This proposal presents a golden mean between two extremes,” Horne said. “One extreme is to allow all teachers to bring guns to school, which could create more dangers than it prevents. The other extreme is to do nothing, which everyone will regret if a preventable incident like Newtown would occur in the future.”
The first extreme Horne lists is actually the preference of several conservatives who want to see more arms in school. Among those are Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell who wants to up the number of weapons in schools, Texas Governor Rick Perry who advocates concealed-weapons on school grounds, and members of the Oklahoma state legislature who want teachers to bring whatever guns they want. In proposing arming principals, Horne both manages to go beyond the position of the NRA’s call for more police officers in schools and point out the struggles that local budgets are undergoing as state and federal government budgets are cut.