The National Rifle Association's (NRA) National School Shield program on Tuesday announced recommendations that they said were designed to decrease violence in schools by allowing trained personnel to carry firearms like shotguns and AR-15 assault rifles on campuses.
Task force chair Asa Hutchinson, who headed the Drug Enforcement Agency under President George W. Bush, told reporters that the 225-pages of recommendations did not address universal background checks and other gun control measures that Congress was considering after the December massacre of 20 children in Connecticut because "our focus was on school safety."
"That debate goes on, we're trying to do something about school safety," Hutchinson explained, adding that background checks should be required for armed school personnel.
"Any school staff that is designated by the school, saying we want you to be a trained, armed response, they would have to go through the background checks, they would have to go through testing and screening and then 40 to 60 hours of training."
But when it came to what type of weapon school staff should be allowed to carry, Hutchinson said that almost any firearm would be appropriate.
"There's a variety of firearms, there's no specific recommendation on that," he told reporters. "From the surveys and the assessments that I've personally participated in, it's everything from a sidearm to shotgun to AR-15 in the car of a school officer. And so, there's a variety of weapons that are utilized."
One reporter pointed out that the NRA had brought an unusual "level of security" with them to the National Press Club.
"Is there something you're afraid of?" the reporter wondered.
"No, there's nothing I'm afraid of," Hutchinson insisted. "I'm very wide open. There's nothing I'm nervous about."