NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre made a rather startling proposal on Friday. Rather than calling for some type of meaningful dialogue between defenders of the Second Amendment and gun control proponents in order to reduce gun violence, one of the NRA's top officials suggested that schools be staffed with armed guards to protect students.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” was one of several baffling statements LaPierre made to assembled reporters, also saying that if the Sandy Hook school principal had been armed she may have been able to subdue the shooter.
LaPierre also seized on the moment to introduce an initiative called "Shield Our Schools." The program involves posting signs around schools prohibiting firearms on the premises and compiling a database of those deemed too mentally unstable to own a firearm.
There are several problems with LaPierre's solution, but I will only address a few main ones here. As my fellow writer itobin53 pointed out in her article "NRA calls for armed guards in schools in the wake of Sandy Hook murders" LaPierre offered no explanation on how to enforce compliance with a database requirement, neither did he address the issue of security in other public places. Also, all the schools I know of already post "no firearms" signs, and many have at least one armed police officer present.
Another glaring problem with LaPierre's logic was that had Sandy Hook's principal been armed she may have stopped the assailant. If reports are correct, not only was the shooter heavily armed, he was also wearing body armor. Realistically there would probably have been no way she could have stopped the killer with anything short of a similar high-powered weapon (unless she was an exceptionally accurate shot), as most body armor is effective against a wide variety of conventional handgun ammunition.
It is highly unlikely a single person armed with a handgun could have stopped the shooter without exposing themselves to the withering gunfire from the high-powered high-capacity rifle that the killer was wielding. It is difficult to say for certain without knowing the layout of the building, minimum and maximum possible distances from the assailant etc., but generally speaking, handguns are only effective at short distances and also depend heavily on the skill of the shooter, whereas high-powered, high-capacity weapons such as the Bushmaster are capable of accuracy and a high rate of fire over much longer distances.
It should be noted that the gunman was reportedly experienced with using the weapon.
This, coupled with the use of body armor, would likely have drastically reduced the chances of stopping the gunman. In fact the chance of more casualties would have increased. Perhaps LaPierre has never been in a close-quarters firefight, but a firefight is exactly how you would describe facing someone armed with that kind of firepower.
Another extremely important issue with LaPierre's proposal is the effect this could have on young students. As I pointed out earlier, any meaningful security force would have to be armed with superior firepower to stop a determined killer. What kind of psychological effect would it have on children to be surrounded by black-clad, balaclava-wearing, body-armored security forces armed with very intimidating-looking firearms?
Even if they were dressed in colorful clown outfits, the presence of such forces around kindergarteners would likely be somewhat unsettling for faculty, staff, parents and children as well.
While we're at it, why not just put these forces in all public places? Somehow there is something about this scenario that reminds me of one of the very reasons many of those who support gun rights give to justify why citizens should be allowed to bear arms.
Welcome to the police state... Thanks, NRA!