Tulsa Public Schools, gun activist respond to NRA statements on school security
8:11 PM, Dec 21, 2012
8:34 PM, Dec 21, 2012
TULSA - The Tulsa Public Schools and the general manager of a local shooting range sit on opposite sides of statements concerning school security made by National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.
The comments come one week after the deadly rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. that left 26 dead, including 20 children.
They were the first public statements made by an NRA representative since the shooting massacre.
In his remarks, LaPierre called for armed security to be present at every school.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," he said.
LaPierre said the creation of schools as gun-free zones has only made them a more vulnerable target.
"... they tell every insane killer in America that schools are their safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk," he said.
Following the press conference, Tulsa Public Schools issued their reaction.
Chris Payne, director of public information for TPS, said two issues arise when discussing such a move: funding and a belief that arming teachers and principals would not be the best solution to the questions raised over school safety.
"We believe it is a terrible idea to arm teachers and principals," Payne said.
Payne says the district has spoken with its campus police chief who has informed the district that employing and training an armed guard at every TPS school would force them to double their budget.
"Our own police chief has told us at TPS that it would likely double -- more than double -- our existing budget," he said. "We'll add an additional $3 million to be able to have this added security at every school."
Eric Fuson, general manager of 2A Shooting Center, believes it's a price that should be paid.
"The only way to overcome violence unfortunately most of the time is with more violence," he said.
Fuson says he would feel more secure as a parent knowing his child attended a school with armed security.
"Me, as a parent with children in school, I would feel much better if I had an armed guard and armed police officer -- Tulsa police officer -- at my children's school whenever they were in class," Fuson said. "It would definitely make me feel better."
Oklahoma State Rep. Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa, has advocated for arming teachers in school and plans to propose a bill in the next legislative session, which begins Jan. 8.
When Congress convenes in January, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., will introduce a bill to ban assault weapons, something President Barack Obama has said he will support.