The National Rifle Association unsurprisingly endorsed Tuesday the report it commissioned on how to keep schools safe in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. But the powerful gun lobby said it needs “time to digest” the document.
The long-awaited, 225-page report from the NRA's hand-picked National School Shield Task Force included recommending arming school personnel or school resource officers as a way to prevent another mass school shooting like the one perpetrated by Adam Lanza in Newtown, Conn., in December.
In a statement released after the report was published Tuesday, the NRA said it was confident that the recommendations would be useful to help keep schools safe, but admitted it hasn’t digested the report.
It’s unclear whether the NRA is saying it has yet to read the full 225-page document.
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“The National Rifle Association is determined to continue to use every asset at its disposal to help make America's children safe at school,” the group said in the statement posted on the NRA Institute for Legislative Action website. “We need time to digest the full report. We commend [National School Shield Task Force Director] Asa Hutchinson for his rapid response in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy, and we are certain the contributions he and his team have made will go a long way to making America's schools safer.”
Aside from Hutchinson, a former Republican congressman from Arkansas, the task force included former federal officials and agents, ex-police officers and employees of the private military and law enforcement training company Phoenix RBT Solutions.
The report contained eight recommendations, the most controversial being a plan to arm school personnel in an effort to deter and respond to school shooters.
“A model-training program has been developed by the NSS Task Force for the professional training of armed personnel in the school environment,” the report stated. “This training will only be open to those who are designated by school officials and qualified by appropriate background investigation, testing and relevant experience.”
The NRA noted that many states forbid anyone but a law enforcement officer or security guard to carry weapons in schools, and suggested that those states amend their laws.
“In order for a selected school staff member to be designated, trained and armed on school property, the states will have to change current legal restrictions,” the group said.
Other provisions include an online self-assessment tool for schools to evaluate their security and federal funding for school safety.