The move by Gainesville City Schools in Georgia is a direct result of the Sandy Hook massacre last year. Under the proposal, the district would buy Colt 6920 M4 carbines and keep them in locked safes.
A north Georgia school district is deciding whether to have small assault-weapon armories in its schools to be ready for an attack.
Many Americans, of course, remain deeply disturbed about the prospect of arming school officials, and some studies have shown that armed school guards don’t necessarily de-escalate or prevent school shootings. Yet what would have just a few years ago been a shocking plan to store semiautomatic assault carbines in the front office is now being considered seriously.
“These incidents constitute a minuscule fraction of overall homicides, but they horrify us more because we have this feeling that this can happen anywhere for no particular reason, and where no recognized set of precautions will stop it,” says law professor Bob Cottrol, a gun-policy expert at George Washington University. “So everybody is looking around for potential solutions.”
The move by Gainesville City Schools – a small system near Georgia’s Lake Lanier, in the Appalachian foothills – is a direct result of last year’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six staff members died at the hands of a troubled and heavily armed young man who broke into the school and began shooting.
In August, another young man allegedly broke into a charter school in Decatur, Ga., and fired several shots before a quick-thinking and empathetic bookkeeper named Antoinette Tuff talked him into surrendering.
The plan in Gainesville would be for the district to buy two Colt 6920 M4 carbines and keep them in locked safes equipped with fingerprint locks, so only one person – the school resource officer – could have access. The weapons would be stored in the resource officer’s car trunk when no students are at school.
The police and school system would split the $6,000 cost for each rifle.
The Gainesville rifle plan is part of a debate happening in school districts across the United States. So far in 2013, seven states have passed laws allowing teachers to have guns at school. One of them, Arkansas, has already begun to arm willing teachers.