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Article published April 2, 2013
NRA study says schools need trained, armed staffers
WASHINGTON — Schools across the nation should train selected staff members to carry weapons and should each have at least one armed security officer to make students safer and to allow a quicker response to an attack, the director of a National Rifle Association-sponsored study said Tuesday. Former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas made the remarks as a task force he headed released its report, which included a 40- to 60-hour training program for school staff members who are qualified and can pass background checks. “The presence of an armed security personnel in a school adds a layer of security and diminishes the response time that is beneficial to the overall security,” said Hutchinson. Asked if every school would be better off with an armed security officer, Hutchinson replied, “Yes,” but acknowledged the decision would be made locally. Hutchinson said the security could be provided by trained staff members or by school resource officers — police officers assigned to schools that some districts already have. The report was released a week before the Senate plans to begin debating gun control legislation. The 225-page NRA study, which Hutchinson said cost more than $1 million, made eight recommendations. They included changing state laws that might bar a trained school staff member from carrying a firearm, NRA-provided online assessments that schools could make of their safety procedures and better coordination with law enforcement agencies.