Assemblywoman Climbs on Board Sparsely-Populated Bandwagon Behind NRA Proposal for Armed School Guards

Monday, December 24, 2012
Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen

When National Rifle Association (NRA) Vice President Wayne LaPierre arrived at his much anticipated press conference Friday he came armed with a slogan—“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” —and ready to do battle.

The centerpiece of his announcement on how the NRA could facilitate a safer environment in schools, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, was a proposed armed response. “We need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work—and by that I mean armed security,” LaPierre said, reading from a prepared statement.

Democrats and educators hated it, with American Federation of Teachers chief Randi Weingarten calling the proposal “irresponsible and dangerous.” Dennis Van Roekel, head of the National Education Association, said it was “delusional.”

Republicans were relatively quiet, although California Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen from the Modesto area emerged as an early booster.

“I think the armed guards proposal is one that deserves serious consideration,” Olsen told a local television station. The former Modesto city councilmember said she was concerned about the cost of such an endeavor but was considering introducing a bill on the subject after the Legislature reconvenes in January. Olsen estimated that the NRA proposal would cost $1 billion to implement in California.

LaPierre said the NRA will sponsor a team of security experts to develop a model school safety plan, led by former Arkansas Rep. Asa Hutchinson, who served as undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security will lead the effort.

A proposal by Olsen won’t go far in a Legislature where the few Republicans who remain after November’s election have little, if any, influence on policy.

State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat, responded to LaPierre’s press conference with scorn and ridicule: “The NRA's suggestion that we militarize our schools is not the solution, and references to other militarized institutions simply reinforce the problem our nation has with gun violence. What next? Armed guards at Starbucks and little league games? This is completely the wrong direction.”

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

California Democrats Reject NRA Proposal for Armed Guards in Schools (by Michael J. Mishak, Los Angeles Times)

State Lawmakers Mull Police Protection at Schools (by John Myers, ABC News10)

N.R.A. Calls for Armed Guards in Schools, but No Gun Curbs (by Eric Lichtblau and Motoko Rich, New York Times)

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