Hutchinson: NRA Seeks to Be ‘National Leader in School Safety’

by Andrew Johnson

Former congressman Asa Hutchinson today unveiled the National Rifle Association’s recommendations for school safety, which include installing armed guards in schools and placing a greater emphasis on mental-health care for school children. 

The NRA will offer a model training program for school personnel that will educate them in the use of firearms, said Hutchinson, who called the curriculum “totally comprehensive.” “This is probably the one part of the program that catches everybody’s attention,” he noted. 

Though the NRA had floated the idea of having volunteers serve as armed guards in schools in a December press conference, Hutchinson today said he had concluded that was “not the best solution.”

The former Arkansas representative, who consulted with national experts as he assembled his proposals, said that the NRA’s goal is to become a “national leader in school safety” and that the organization has devoted $1 million to the effort.

As the national debate over gun control rages and Senate majority leader Harry Reid prepares to bring his legislation to the floor, Hutchinson declined to comment on pending legislation. “While the debate goes on, we’re trying to do something about school safety,” he told reporters. 

Hutchinson was joined on stage by Mark Mattioli, the father of a child who died in December’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Mattioli applauded the NRA’s efforts and encouraged schools to consider Hutchinson’s proposals. “I hope this does not lead to name-calling. These are recommendations for solutions. Solutions to make our kids safer,” he said.

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