MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Protesters twice interrupted the head of the NRA as he proposed armed security guards in every school in the United States.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said Wayne LaPierre, of the National Rifle Association.
In Minnesota, some public officials condemned the remarks, and the NRA’s making them on the same day as some Connecticut students were buried.
“It’s outrageous,” said Chris Coleman, the Democratic mayor of St. Paul. “To have nothing to say of any value or significance, but to suggest that more violence or more guns in schools is the answer to what we saw in schools is ridiculous.”
But not everyone is against putting armed guards Minnesota schools.
The outgoing chairman of the House Public Safety Committee says studies show the best way to stop a threat is with immediate counter fire.
“Would you rather dial 911 and wait five or 10 minutes, like they did in the Connecticut shooting?” asked Rep. Tony Cornish, (R) Vernon Center. “Or would you rather wait 30 seconds, or a minute, for help to come from another classroom or another part of the school?”
But the union leader representing Minnesota’s teachers says the state should put more money into mental health counselors, and that arming schools changes everything about them.
“It turns it into a fortress,” said Tom Dooher, president of the 55,000 member teacher’s union Education Minnesota. “And our schools are where our kids expand their minds. A fortress is something you go hide behind. I think it’s the wrong direction.”
Armed guards, Dooher says, aren’t always effective.
The security guard was the first one killed at Minnesota’s Red Lake High School rampage. And there was an armed guard at Columbine, who happened to be on a lunch break.
As to the cost of armed guards: The U.S. Department of Education says there are about 100,000 public and 33,000 private schools in the United States.
Placing one paid security guard in every school would cost about $7 billion per year. If only public schools were armed, it would cost about $5.4 billion.