A proposal that was designed as a school program for the prevention of the tragedy that befell twenty young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut on 15 December 2012 was floated by Tom Horne, the Arizona state Attorney General.
The proposal, as reported in a story filed by Talking Points Memo, would train a designated employee to use a firearm, and to keep said firearm on school property during school hours. The report states Horne's comment that his proposal is not what he calls his most 'ideal solution,' whereas each school would have an armed police officer present, but would be his second choice.
Horne released a statement to the press, where he said,
“The ideal solution would be to have an armed Police Officer in each school. Some of our schools have such officers, referred to as School Resource Officers (SROs). They are not only there to handle emergencies, but also make friends with the students, and the students learn that Police Officers are people one can confide in, and are not the enemy.
However, budget considerations have caused the Legislature to cut back on the SRO program. It may not be possible to afford a Police Officer in every school. In that case, the next best solution is to have one person in the school trained to handle firearms, to handle emergency situations, and possessing a firearm in a secure location. This proposal is analogous to arming pilots on planes.”
Horne is supported by several sheriffs in Arizona, who have not only pledges support, but are asking the legislature to craft a bill that would put the program in place, forthwith.
Think Progress reports that the Utah Shooting Sports Council has offered training to any teachers in Arizona who would like to become part of the program, and has stated their agreement with other groups which have offered similar programs involving the arming of school employees. Kansas and Utah are the only states which allow the carrying of concealed weapons in schools.
The report points out, though, that there was an armed school guard on duty when a similar tragedy struck Columbine High School, as well as the fact that the mass murder that occurred at Fort Hood, Texas was committed on what is one of the most populated military bases in the United States, not to mention the obvious presence of many armed, well-trained personnel on base.