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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