Gov. McDonnell: Time for a second look at arming school officials?

posted at 6:01 pm on December 19, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Synder nixed a bill that would have allowed for adults with extra training to carry concealed weapons in schools, while over in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry voiced his support for the same idea as a viable method of improving school security. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell also spoke up on the issue on Tuesday; he has supported a ban on guns in schools in the past, but in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, thinks it may be time to revisit the issue.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has entered the fray on gun control, telling a news radio station  he thinks it’s time for “a reasonable discussion” to be held on allowing school officials to be armed in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre of young children.

“I know there’s been a knee-jerk reaction against that,” the Republican said Tuesday on WTOP radio, according to a report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

But he added, “I think there should at least be a discussion of that. If people were armed, not just a police officer, but other school officials who were trained and chose to have a weapon certainly there’d [have] been an opportunity to stop aggressors coming into the school.” …

McDonnell said he agreed that a discussion about the “multiple clip issue is one . . . that we can have.”

As McDonnell pointed out, there is always a knee-jerk reaction against the idea that more guns lead to less crime, but the areas in which these mass shootings have been taking place being “gun-free zones” has not accomplished anything in deterring crime. In all of Washington’s recent calls for action, the proposals are all focused on expanding gun control instead of gun safety — but might we be seeing actual legislation, and support for said legislation, from the state-level Virginia legislature in the near future? Looks like it:

Del. Robert G. Marshall is proposing a bill that would require some teachers or other school staff to carry concealed weapons in schools.

Marshall (R-Prince William) requested that the bill be drafted in response to the mass shooting last week at a Connecticut elementary school. …

“I would be very supportive of the idea that properly trained teachers could carry concealed firearms,” said Sen. Richard H. Black (R-Loudoun). “There’s no way you’d have 20 innocent children gunned down if you had teachers who could help to defend themselves.”

Philip Van Cleave, who heads the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said he would like to see the state eliminate the gun-free zones surrounding schools. As an interim step, he would support arming teachers and other staff.

“We’d prefer to just see that [gun-free zone] go away, not just [for] teachers but even parents or whoever,” he said. “They’re carrying everywhere else. Why do we not trust them on school grounds? Gun-free zones don’t work, and telling people with permits they can’t carry on school property — the people you don’t want carrying on school property don’t have permits.”

Would the legislation actually have a shot at passing? I’d say very possibly, or at least much more so than it did in Michigan — Virginia may be slowly turning purple, but the firearms issue is one that tends to bring out its traditionally reddish leanings.


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I teach Latin in a high school where we always have at least one, usually two police officers there on duty. We also have some big, intimidating, intelligent administrators who are great if anything goes wrong. I would feel very comfortable if the latter had guns and were trained to use them.

Tzetzes on December 19, 2012 at 11:47 PM

What if your principal was a small-ish lady like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary? She confronted the shooter, but surprisingly her words were less effective than his bullets.

If she’d been armed, then maybe he would’ve taken cover long enough to listen to reason.

hawksruleva on December 20, 2012 at 9:49 AM

You would find out in a hurry how many mush headed liberal teachers and school officials you have by offering to arm them. My bet is, very few would take the offer. Liberals believe others should protect them from harm, all that is needed is another law or regulation until another incident comes along.Then the cycle starts over again. Whining and crying have never solved a problem yet.

savage24 on December 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Our school district takes security very seriously. On Monday a letter was sent out to all parents about the steps we take to keep our kids safe. And while it didn’t go into enough detail to let people know exactly what we are doing so as not to tip our hands, it was said that our school resource officers are “always armed” just in case anyone gets any ideas. This is true. I haven’t noticed any level of magical thinking that gun bans will save us all amoung those of us in the “line of fire”. At least not here in South Dakota. I don’t know about the parents, but I haven’t heard of any of them complaining that we have weapons in the school guarding their children.

Also, I do not know of a single teacher who hasn’t made some sort of plan for what they would do in case the worst should happen. We practice our Active Shooter Drills with the entire police force every year, but we all also have a personal plans, depending on our classroom situations. It had been a topic of discussion before this about going to a “more active” Active Shooter in Building plan. One where teachers and students do what they can to fight back when face-to-face with an attacker. Easier with high school students than 6 year-olds, no doubt.

I know that public school teachers get a bad rap, but I don’t know of a single one whom I would be surprised to hear got between a bullet and their students. Not a one. Of course you never know how you will react in such a situation. But I am not at all surprised that the staff at Sandy Hook did try to stop an attacker even with only their bodies. It is exactly what I would expect. If that miderable child killing weasel had 20 minutes before armed responders arrived to do the worst, the staff there must have been pretty effective in secreting the children and the lockdown worked as well as it could have or it would have been a bigger massacre than it was. 20 minutes is a long time for him to be running loose with the only weapon and nothing between him and children but the bodies of their teachers.

I am beyond outraged that there are fools out there who think that teachers cannot be trusted to have a weapon to defend the innocents in their care.

Lily on December 20, 2012 at 12:38 PM

a secretly but staff-wide-known armed person is a great idea. Armed good people stop armed bad people.

johnnyU on December 20, 2012 at 2:12 PM

The issue is not the tool that was used to murder. The issue Is the murder. He was crazy. He killed his mother that’s crazy, then he steals the guns and goes to a school and does another 26 crazy things ( murdering innocent people especially children ) then he does yet another crazy thing and kills himself. The issue is the crazies and not the tool that crazies use.
Lets talk about mental health , how do we care for them and keep the rest of us safe?

ColdWarrior57 on December 20, 2012 at 3:32 PM

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