Asa Hutchinson working with NRA in push for armed school guards
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Former Arkansas Congressman Asa Hutchinson is spearheading an effort to provide armed security at every school in the country, with the help of the National Rifle Association.
Hutchinson will be tasked with developing a model National School Shield Emergency Response Program, according to NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. Among the objectives is a proposal to provide armed security personnel nationwide.
"I call on Congress today, to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation," said LaPierre.
Addressing potential funding concerns, Hutchinson later in the press conference said recruiting qualified volunteers to equip with guns would be beneficial to local governments financially.
"I think there are people in every community in this country who would be happy to serve if only someone asked them and gave them the training certifications to do so," said Hutchinson.
The former Drug Enforcement Agency administrator went on to praise volunteer efforts in the Natural State.
"In my home state of Arkansas my son was a volunteer with a local group called Watch Dog Dads," said Hutchinson, "who volunteered their time to patrol playgrounds and provide a measure of added security."
Clark Raborn is one of the more than 2,000 Watch D.O.G.S. nationwide. He volunteers at Little Rock's Forest Park Elementary, where his second and third grade daughters go to school.
Since the Newtown, Connecticut shooting Raborn was reminded sometimes a presence isn't enough.
"I think one armed person can make a difference," said Raborn. "Just the fact that maybe if there was a person with a firearmmaybe they go pick somewhere else the day [a gunman] decides to go crazy."
Raborn says he does not speak for the entire organization, but he would support an initiative to arm the dozens of fellow volunteers he works with.
"Armed, trained, qualified security personnel will be one element of that plan but my no means all of it," said Hutchinson.
The Little Rock School District did not want to comment on the NRA's announcement. However, a week ago its superintendent said he was satisfied with its 113 security officers.
"Some schools have as many as 10 security officers, those officers are trained, they're certified, and they're qualified to do a good job."
The North Little Rock School District will not consider adding more armed personnel to its campuses, according to spokesperson Shara Brazear.
For Raborn, he's talking to new volunteers daily after the Connecticut shooting and he doesn't expect that to change.
"You can take a day out of the year for your child," said Raborn.