By Louis René Beres |
The recent shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn. that left 20 children and six school staff members dead has renewed the debate over gun violence and gun control, putting pressure on the National Rifle Association and other gun rights activists. The executive vice president of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre took the stage Friday to argue against the call for more firearm regulations. Among other issues LaPierre brought up at the press event, he cited the lack of armed guards at the school as a reason for the massacre, arguing, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." He outlined a plan to tap police, active and retired military personnel, and other armed personnel to stand guard at schools. Sunday, appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, LaPierre doubled down on the proposal. "If it's crazy to call for armed officers in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy," LaPierre said, referencing a New York Post cover that mocked his suggestion. "I think the American people think it's crazy not to do it. It's the one thing that would keep people safe."
Gun control proponents as well as many education advocates scoffed at the suggestion. They say putting more guns in school would increase violence, not lessen it. They argue an increased presence of armed individuals would make for a tense environment that would frighten children and make learning more difficult. They also point out that such a program would be expensive at a time school budgets are especially tight (in his Friday remarks LaPierre suggested the money could come from America's foreign aid budget). They also point out that armed guards were present at the school of the Columbine shooting, and were unable to stop the shooters from killing 12 students and a teacher, and injuring many more people.
Should there be more armed guards in schools to prevent gun violence? Here is the Debate Club's take:
Erich Pratt Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America
Gene Hoffman Chairman of the Calguns Foundation.