The National Rifle Association has been under heavy criticism since holding a press conference on December 21 in response to the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. During his remarks, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called for armed police officers in every school in America as a way to prevent the next Sandy Hook and to protect America's kids. The idea was immediately classified as "out of touch" and "unsympathetic" to the situation by anti-Second Amendment advocacy groups calling for more gun control and a renewal of the Clinton-era assault weapons ban. A Gallup Poll taken shortly after LaPierre's suggestion showed a majority of Americans believe armed guards should be placed in schools in order to prevent mass shootings and now, the White House and Democrats are looking at funding for the initiative.
The Obama administration is considering funding many more police officers in public schools to secure campuses, a leading Democratic senator said, part of a broad gun violence agenda that is likely to include a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips and universal background checks.
The school safety initiative, one of several under consideration, would make federal dollars available to schools that want to hire police officers and install surveillance equipment, although it is not nearly as far-ranging as the National Rifle Association’s proposal for armed guards in every U.S. school.
The idea is gaining currency among some Democratic lawmakers, who see it as a potential area of common ground with Republicans who otherwise oppose stricter restrictions on firearms. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a liberal Democrat from California, said she presented the plan to Vice President Biden and that he was “very, very interested” and may include it in the policy recommendations he makes to President Obama.
“If a school district wants to have a community policing presence, I think it’s very important they have it,” Boxer said in an interview Thursday. “If they want uniformed officers, they can do it. If they want plainclothed officers, they can do it.”
Vice President Joe Biden is meeting with leaders from the entertainment and video game industry today as part of his ongoing gun control task force. He will give recommendations based on multiple meetings this week with gun control groups, the NRA, hunter groups and others to President Obama by Tuesday.