Should All Schools Have Armed Guards?
Community comments after NRA suggestion
ANCHORAGE - For the first time, Friday, the National Rifle Association’s CEO spoke in length to the media since the Newtown murders a week ago.
In a speech, Wayne LaPierre blamed school shootings and similar violence on the media, video games and the lack of a national database of mentally ill people. He said the solution to the problem of protecting our children in schools is to put police officers, and even armed citizens, into every school in the nation.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said LaPierre.
For people who are questioning the push of the NRA to put armed guards in schools, LaPierre had this message: "Why is the idea of a gun good when it's used to protect the president of our country, or our police but bad when it's used to protect our children in our schools"
The nation is divided on whether having more guns around children is a good idea, but, after hearing LaPierre’s comments, many Anchorage parents said they would like to see an armed officer in every school.
"I think it'll deter anybody if they walk in and see somebody with a gun standing at the front door as the little kids walk in; I think it would deter them from coming in with a gun and hurting somebody,” said Misty Dawn Crim, a mom of a student at Taku Elementary.
Derek Hsieh, president of the Anchorage Police Department Employee Association, isn't convinced the idea can be made reality.
“I understand the concept, but from a practical standpoint that'd be extraordinarily difficult to do,” said Hsieh.
The Anchorage School District currently has 16 fully sworn police officers, plus two supervisors, based at Anchorage high schools.
They have specialized training to deal with active shooter situations.
“Additionally they have the core police officer training as well that involves, in most cases, hundreds of hours of firearms training before they are even put into the school,” said Hsieh.
So why not train more?
“That is certainly a possibility, but there's a cost associated with that, and I think the community needs to weigh in a dialogue and find out where the balance really sits,” said Hsieh.
Some parents think the cost is worth it.
“We can afford it, we'll make it work, we make everything else work -- we can afford it,” said mom Misty Crim.
The ASD and the APD released a joint statement today saying they welcome suggestions on how to improve safety but they will not comment on each new idea advanced in the media.