WASHINGTON — Former Arkansas Rep. Asa Hutchinson will lead a National Rifle Association effort to put armed security guards in every school to stop the next killer "waiting in the wings."
Hutchinson has agreed to lead an independent team of security experts to develop a model security plan for schools to use in the wake of last week’s horrific attack at a Connecticut elementary school.
"Armed, trained, qualified school security personnel will be one element of that plan, but by no means the only element," Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson, who served as undersecretary for border and transportation at the Department of Homeland Security, said the safety of our nation’s children is critical.
"They are this country’s future and her most precious resource," he said at a press conference Friday held by the NRA.
Hutchinson noted that his son was a volunteer with "Watchdog Dads" who patrol school playgrounds to provide a measure of added security.
"Whether they’re retired police, retired military or rescue personnel, I think there are people in every community in this country, who would be happy to serve, if only someone asked them and gave them the training and certification to do so," Hutchinson said.
Local parents could decide "for whatever reason" that they do not want or need armed security personnel at their school, he said. But, Hutchinson said he believes it is "one key component among many that can provide a first line of deterrence as well as well as the last line of defense."
"If a school decides for whatever reason that it doesn’t want or need armed security personnel, that of course is a decision to be made by parents at the local level," he said.
The NRA held a press conference Friday to offer its response to last week’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six staff.
President Obama wants Congress to take up legislation in January to reduce gun violence. Among the ideas that are likely to be considered are reinstatement of a ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004, limits on high-capacity gun clips, and background checks for guns purchased from private sellers.