The report, written by Asa Hutchinson, recommended properly trained armed employees to provide “an important layer of security in schools.”
The document was created by a 12-person task force, called the School Shield Program, led by Hutchinson. At Tuesday’s press conference, he singled out that its findings were independent of the nation’s largest gun lobby.
“Teachers should teach, but if there is personnel that has interest and is willing to go through 40 to 60 hours of [firearms] training, then schools should be willing to [arm them],” Hutchinson said.
He went on, adding that the report found that “local school authorities are in the best position” to determine their own school security measures, “specifically whether an armed security guard is necessary and supported by the education and citizen community.”
As The Huffington Post reports, according to the report, school staff must be armed and trained. A model training program is attached, 40-60 hours per person, at what Hutchinson said would be a cost of about $800 to $1,000 per trained employee.
Armed school personnel, the so-called ‘resource officers’, would also be required to undergo a “background investigation, testing, and [have] relevant experience.”
However, the committee didn’t mention any specific kind of firearm for school security, saying, “Everything from a sidearm, to a shotgun, to an AR-15” would work.
Hutchinson’s report was criticized by the American Federation of Teachers, which stands for broadening of gun control measures and strongly opposes arming educators.
In a statement, union President Randi Weingarten called the report “a cruel hoax that will fail to keep our children and schools safe,” adding that the findings “are simply designed to assist gun manufacturers flood the nation and our schools with more guns.”
The NRA also released a statement regarding the report, over which the gun lobby insists it had no influence. The agency said it needs “time to digest” the findings, but it commended Hutchinson and his team for contributions that “will go a long way to making America’s schools safer.”
The Republican weighed in on state gun control efforts which are the emergency issue now. The Congress is expected to approve some gun control measures which will include a ban on high-capacity magazines and a broader assault weapons ban. Hutchinson called them “totally inadequate.”
“You can address assault weapons, but it doesn’t stop violence in schools. So if you’re going to protect children, you have to do something about enhancing school safety,” he said, encouraging the NRA to keep on funding pilot programs to train school employees to carry weapons.
The news comes a few days after the town of Nelson, Georgia, voted unanimously to approve the Family Protection Ordinance.
The measure requires everybody in the sity to own a gun and ammunition to “provide for the emergency management of the city” and to “provide for and protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants.”
However, convicted felons and those who suffer from certain physical or mental disabilities are not included in the list, as well as those who firmly objects to gun ownership. There’s no penalty for those who don’t comply.
Backers said they wanted to voice their opinion considering gun rights when President Barack Obama and some states are pushing for more restrictions in the wake of the Newtown mass shooting in December that left 20 children and six adults dead.