The National Rifle Association wants at least one staff member in every school to be armed. The nation's largest gun group outlined its recommendations of the National School Shield Program to prevent gun violence in schools. Washington bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As a team of security guards and a bomb-sniffing dog stood watch, a task force assembled by the NRA said ending gun violence starts with training school personnel on how to fire a weapon.
"If you have the firearm on the presence of someone in the school, that can reduce the response time, it will save lives. That is the objective," said Asa Hutchinson of the NRA's National School Shield Task Force.
That controversial recommendation is one of several proposed by Hutchinson in a 225-page report that the NRA asked him to compile, and it has the support of a parent who lost his child during the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"This is recommendations for solutions, real solutions, that will make our schools safer," said Mark Mattioli, a father of a Sandy Hook victim.
The news conference comes as President Barack Obama prepares to travel to Colorado and Connecticut to make the case for gun control bills that the NRA opposes and now appear to be in jeopardy in Congress. Those measures include universal background checks, a proposal that has overwhelming public support.
"We have always said that this would be hard," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. "If that weren't the case, it would have been done before."
The NRA is the main reason gun control measures have failed in the past. But this time, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending millions to serve as a real counterweight to the gun lobby, a role that has made him the target of the NRA.
"I wish Mayor Bloomberg would devote an equivalent amount of money to school safety that would fund many of the initiatives and solve the problem right there," Hutchinson said.
"Giving a bunch of guns to people in schools is, the only stupider idea with regards to guns and education would be to let all college students carry guns," Bloomberg said.
The fate of the gun control debate could be known when Congress returns from recess next week.