The Main Stream

Apr 2, 2013 8:44 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Tucsonans react to NRA school safety report

TUCSON - A new proposal from the National Rifle Association on how schools can prevent future gun violence is getting approval from many parents while some say it's a tactical ploy to distract from ongoing gun control talks.

The 225-page report for the NRA's "National School Shield Program" tackles issues in school safety from locked door policies to training and arming staff members.

However, some Tucsonans who support legislation making its way through Congress that requires universal background checks for gun purchases argue the NRA's report serves to distract from that conversation.

The report, announced by the NRA Tuesday, recommends that schools across the country train and arm at least of the school's staff members.

Todd Rathner is a member of the NRA Board of Directors - he says the focus here, is on safety.

"No one is suggesting that teachers be armed without training them. We don't have to arm teachers... we can arm school resource officers... we can arm other professionals," Rathner told News 4 Tucson.

This comes just as Congress is poised to take up an issue the NRA strongly opposes: universal background checks.

Tucson Councilmember Karin Uhlich says that no one disagrees on the effort to improve safety at schools but that they want students to be safe "everywhere they go."

"Studying such a tiny fraction of the broader question of public safety...such as in schools... is a distraction and I think the larger the report probably the hope is the bigger the distraction they can create," Uhlich said.

Tucson educators, both past and present, voiced their opinions Tuesday shortly after the NRA report was released. For some, that meant compromise.

"Let's have the universal background check that the administration wants and let's have more money for security in the schools and more counselors," Roger Pfeuffer, a former superintendent for Tucson Unified School District.

As for Rathner, he thinks it's worth noting the effort and research that the NRA took upon itself in this report.

"People need to realize that the NRA got together the best experts on security.... To get together to figure out how to help schools become safe," Rathner said.

You can find the full report sponsored by the NRA here: NRA report.

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