The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 2, 2013

NRA to school officials: Train and arm a staffer

(Continued)

The spokesman commented as the White House revealed the president plans a trip next week to Connecticut, scene of the horrific shooting in December that spurred the new push for gun-control legislation. The aim of Obama's trip is to build pressure on Congress to pass legislation.

Obama also plans to focus on firearms curbs in a trip Wednesday to Denver, not far from last summer's mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

Obama and his allies — mostly Democrats — are trying to bolster prospects that Congress will approve gun legislation. Chances of such action on Capitol Hill have waned since the shootings in Newton, Conn.

The 225-page NRA study, which Hutchinson said cost more than $1 million, made eight recommendations. They included changing state laws that might bar a trained school staff member from carrying a firearm, NRA-provided online assessments that schools could make of their safety procedures and better coordination with law enforcement agencies.

The study drew immediate opposition from the American Federation of Teachers, which represents 1.5 million teachers and other workers.

"Today's NRA proposal is a cruel hoax that will fail to keep our children and schools safe," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "It is simply designed to assist gun manufacturers" to flood the nation with more guns and large magazine clips.

Hutchinson said the NRA dropped an earlier recommendation that retired police officers and other volunteers be armed to provide school safety. He said the idea encountered "great reluctance" from school superintendents.

The NRA had suggested the retired officer idea just days after 20 first-graders and six staff members were shot and killed at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Several NRA-supplied security guards were at Tuesday's event — unusual for an announcement at the National Press Club, a building that houses offices for many news organizations.

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