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12/27/2012 10:39:00 AM
Horne says school principals should get guns
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne proposed firearm training for school principals or adminstrators while the state cannot afford to put a police officer on each campus.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne proposed firearm training for school principals or adminstrators while the state cannot afford to put a police officer on each campus.

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services


PHOENIX -- Calling it a compromise between extremes, Attorney General Tom Horne on Wednesday proposed training and arming the principal or other top administrator at every public school.

Horne said he ideally would like to have a trained police officer in every school. But he said the state's budget constraints make that a financial impossibility.

Conversely, Horne said having a single individual having access to a gun is preferable to letting each teacher be armed, saying having that many weapons at a school could result in students getting hold of one of them.

But nothing in Horne's proposal, which would be optional for each school and each administrator, addresses the other side of the issue: Whether it is too easy for individuals to get guns and arm themselves with high-capacity clips capable of shooting multiple people without reloading.

"That's not my area of jurisdiction,' he said. "That would be a good question for a state legislator.'

What makes the armed administrator proposal appropriate for his office, Horne said, is that it would be his 36 investigators, each who are sworn peace officers, who would provide the training at no cost to the schools or the state. He conceded, though, that if they are training one person in each of 2,000 schools statewide it likely would take away from their other duties.

Pushed further for his views on gun regulation and high-capacity magazines, Horne, who faces a difficult reelection campaign in 2014, refused to say what he believes.

"I don't think that would be relevant,' he said.

The plan is a variant of what National Rifle Association President Wayne LaPierre proposed last week. He said every school should have an armed officer and the federal government should pick up the cost.

But Todd Rathner, an NRA board member from Tucson, said his organization sees increased funding as only a temporary fix, much in the same way the military units were put in airports right after the September 2011 attacks. Rathner said the NRA is looking for lower-cost alternatives in the long run.

"On its face, it sounds like a very good idea,' he said of Horne's proposal. "It sounds constructive.'

The move would require altering existing state laws that allow only certain people, like police officers, to be armed on public school grounds. Horne said Rep. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, has agreed to sponsor the necessary measure.

Gowan, however, said he has not agreed to support -- or even to advance -- what Horne wants.

He said he agreed to take the first steps toward drafting legislation "based on a mutual understanding that the bill would in some way deal with firearms training for education personnel.'

"No language has been shared with me verbally or in writing, nor have I been involved in any efforts whatsoever to advance this preliminary concept to the public,' he said in a prepared statement. Gowan, who will be House Majority Leader next session, declined multiple requests to discuss the plan or his prior support of other measures to expand where individuals can carry firearms.

At this point only Utah and Kansas allow guns on public school campuses.

Horne said he could not provide details on exactly what the training would involve or how much time would be appropriate. But Horne said he envisions more than just teaching someone how to shoot an accurately.

"There would be simulations in how to exercise good judgment and when to shoot and when not to shoot when there's a rampage going on in your school,' he said.

Horne said he's convinced that training, conducted with a computer screen and fake electronic gun, is sufficient to ensure student safety.

"I've actually gone through that training myself,' he said.

It would be up to the individual principal or whoever is designated to purchase his or her own firearm. Similarly, Horne said, those who are designated could obtain body armor -- again, at their own cost.

He also said the principal would not be wandering the building with a weapon. Instead, Horne envisions having the gun locked up at a secure location that the principal or whoever could get to if there are problems.

Horne said having an armed administrator at every school is "not a perfect solution.'

"But if we did nothing and another incident occurred where someone was shooting a lot of people, and they could have been shot had there been an armed person in the school, we would regret doing nothing,' he said.

Horne acknowledged that having the state permit someone to be on campus with a weapon could result in a lawsuit against the district if that administrator inadvertently shoots a student. But he said the risk of a successful claim is minimal.

"If you give careful training, then you can't be accused of being negligent,' Horne said. "If a guy's operating in a tough situation, he's not going to be judged by the same standard' as someone who is not in a high-risk situation.

The other side of that situation, Horne said, might be someone who, out of fear of being sued, simply decides to take no action at all.

"You could be totally frozen in time and wouldn't do anything,' he said. "I wouldn't think that would be a good excuse.'

Horne said, though, that he doubts an individual authorized to carry a weapon could be sued for failing to act in a situation where a student is killed.

Gowan has been a supporter of various measures to expand the rights of gun owners since being elected in 2008.

Earlier this year he sponsored legislation to trim the ability of government agencies to declare their buildings off-limits to guns simply by posting signs at the door and providing lockers for people to store their firearms.

Gowan's measure would have added a new requirement: metal detectors or X-ray machines, coupled with armed security guards. Gowan said that would ensure that building with the "no guns' signs are truly gun-free zones and that visitors do not need to remain armed to protect themselves.

Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the measure, saying it goes too far.

Gowan also supported a 2011 measure to allow guns in the public rights-of-way through community college and university campuses.

"I find it hard to be that on universities it just becomes a bubble and that you're drastically protected when you're on campus,' he said at the time. "I think we have a right to defend ourselves.'

That measure, too, was vetoed by the governor.

But Brewer did sign another Gowan-backed measure in 2010 to allow any adult to carry a concealed weapon, not just those who obtained a state-issued permit after having a background check.

Horne already has lined up several county sheriffs to support his plan.

Pinal Sheriff Paul Babeu said he would prefer to have both an armed administrator and a trained police officer in every school. Those school resource officers, he said, do more than just provide security but also can teach classes and build relationships with students.

And Babeu made it clear he would not support additional limits on firearms, saying previous legislative attempts have only made schools "more vulnerable and more alluring as a target for mass killings.'

"We have over 20,000 laws and regulations on firearms, yet none of them prevented these mass killings,' Babeu said in a prepared statement. "Criminals, mentally ill mass killers and terrorists do not follow current law and they certainly will not follow any future laws.'

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he is taking a wait-and-see approach to Horne's proposal, saying he wants more details before committing. Arpaio said he's not sure that one person with one gun -- locked up in the office -- will do a lot of good.

In the interim, Arpaio said his armed volunteer posse members will be increasing their patrols outside and around public schools to watch for signs of trouble.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Article comment by: this is insane

Just want to mention, Columbine H. S. had a armed security at the high school, didn't help, Va. Tech. had an armed security force and that didn't help. Only solution is a better method of control. Sin tax the heck out of the bullets and limit the amount you can purchase, period. That is not gun control, that is common sense. Trust me people, just because you own a weapon doesn't mean you can live with yourself if you had to kill someone and it doesn't give you the knowledge on how to control that feeling knowing everytime you close your eyes all you can see is that person whose life you took. Most gun owners, even though they talk tough, would have a hard time pulling that trigger and taking a life. The only way they would be able to handle it if they were specifically trained to kill, and still they can't control the sick feeling inside knowing they just killed someone. Ask any cop that had to take a life how he/she still feels about it. Then ask yourself, could you really kill another human and be able to live with yourself.

Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Why is it that our politicians get 24-7 armed
protection.When our children are expendable.


Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: @ I for

First, 'B' is a female named "Jane,"not a "he.'

While we are imagining things and creating fictional scenarios, I forgot to mention that applicant "A" was an Army Ranger, served in Viet Nam for two tours and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service in Cambodia, the Distinguished Service Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf clusters and, because of his unusual valor, was field- promoted from Sergeant to Colonel.

After the war, he used the GI Bill to complete his GED and his college education-- all the while using his military expertise to train his university's ROTC students as corp commandant.

'B" was an illegal Russian immigrant drug addict who joined the military to avoid deportation and resumed her addictions after discharge from Walter Reed.

It make sense that you would hire her.

pf



Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: Susan P., Grandmother

I don't think this would solve much and possibly make the public school environment more unsafe for our children. What they need to do is conduct a more through investigation on teachers background and see how many guns are registered to them and who has access. Or, do like the airports and federal courts do and make everyone go through a checkpoint. It's not only the schools what about the malls, movie theaters and other public places? Are we safe anywhere?

Posted: Sunday, December 30, 2012
Article comment by: I for

one would hire the Resume B person. He loved his country and freedom enough to fight for it

Now A he spent more time in School being brainwashed by the Marxist. Now A his main thing in life was just getting high B his thing was to make America a safer country that kept its freedoms


Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012
Article comment by: I can just see the Resume of the future...

Resume "A"

Name: Doe, John A.
Education: B.S. in Child Psychology Masters in Education Supervision and Administration and Educational Psychology PhD. in Higher Education Administration.
Experience: Ten years primary and secondary school classroom experience 10 years elementary school principal 5 years high school principal.

Resume "B"

Name: Doe, Jane B.
Education: High school dropout.
Experience: US Army Military Police with three year tour in Iraq treated for PTSD 4 years Walter Reed.

Guess which state the gun advocates will flock to to become a principal?




Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012
Article comment by: John A. Bond

@ Peter:

Sheriff Joe, that bastion of justice, has suggested that 'his" volunterr posse could provide such services to the schools [for a nominal fee under the table].

Are YOU suggesting that such people MIGHT NOT be SANE?

How could that possibly be? How!


Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012
Article comment by: One Step At A Time

Mr. Horne doesn't have a perfect answer, but at least, he is making SOME measurement of adding safety. Tell me what ELSE has been DONE to try to protect your children?

Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012
Article comment by: Tom

Nationally there is a disparity in Police Officer to citizen ratio. Some cities have 4 officers to every 1000 citizens and others have 1 officer to every 1000 citizens.
It seems that the school districts should budget for 2 officers for every 1000 students. These officers should be AZPOST certified officers and can be retired police officers just like the state does with gamng officers and other positions.
This will put officers on campus under the direction of the schools and not the local police departments. Campus Police are already at community colleges and universities.
Wake up and protect our children like we protect court rooms, airports and other potential targets. The security of our children should be our number one priority,


Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2012
Article comment by: Schools Are Gun-Free Zones... Why?

Shooters have mental issues...but they are smart
enough to do their shootings at schools, movies,
and at other so-call gun-free zones... One good
solution is to stop kiding ourselves and allow
adults to bear arms and cut out the gun free zone
malarky...then the shooter will think twice before
doing their bad deed.

In the CT shooting some say it took 20 minutes
before the first responders show up to protect
the kids and teachers. If there were some on
the school site packing besides an armed guard
the number of deaths would be lower...news
reports prove this point. ....WE CAN NOT
COUNT ON The COPS, etc.


Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012
Article comment by: Simple logic... .

Simple logic... If folks claim guns are not the problem...then by that logic it is impossible for more of them to be the solution.... Take a breath and read it again... If they are not the problem...then it is impossible for them to play any part of the solution.

How about we send the kids to the prisons that jan brewers friends were building to be filled by sb1070... Oops!


Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012
Article comment by: Cogito Ergosumatra

Mr Horne and the NRA would like us all to pay a little extra so that they can continue to own weapons of mass destruction. Or maybe we could just charge them a license fee for their guns and bullets and the receipts could go to protecting children from them.

Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012
Article comment by: Funny It

works in Israel. When was their last school shooting? When was the last mass shooting at a gun shop or a gun range? I use to wonder at VT how people could just wait to get shot reading these post it is very clear a sheep has no backbone let alone any balls

Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012
Article comment by: OMGosh! We just added another idiot to the list of residents that embarass Arizona!

Why can't those idiots that moved here and hate what Arizona is go back to the state they came from? Don't let the door hit you in the a**!! Good riddance! We don't want you here!

Posted: Friday, December 28, 2012
Article comment by: N. Baer

No wonder consumers cannot get adequate protection from intrusions, such as assault weapons, 'smart' meters, cell towers, drones, identity theft, etc.





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