Arizona plan would arm principals

Posted on: 9:25 pm, December 26, 2012, by , updated on: 09:26pm, December 26, 2012

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(CNN) — Arizona’s attorney general proposed arming one principal or employee at each school to defend against attacks such as the recent Connecticut school massacre.

“The ideal solution would be to have an armed police officer in each school,” Attorney General Tom Horne said in a news release Wednesday. But budget cuts have limited the number of Arizona schools with “school resource officers” on campus, he said.

The “next best solution,” Horne said, “is to have one person in the school trained to handle firearms, to handle emergency situations, and possessing a firearm in a secure location.”

A shooter, armed with a semiautomatic rifle and two other guns, on December 14 killed 26 people — including six faculty members and 20 young students — at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.

Horne compared the plan to the FAA’s program adopted after the September 11, 2001, attacks to arm airline pilots.

A school would be invited to send the principal “or another designee” to “training in the use of firearms and how to handle emergencies such as that which occurred in Newtown,” Horne’s release said. Horne’s office would oversee the free training with help from sheriffs, he said.

“The designated individual (no more than one per school) would then be authorized to keep a firearm locked in a secure place, and would have adequate communication to be alerted to an emergency in any part of the school,” the release said.

Several Arizona sheriffs have joined in to support the proposal, Horne said.

Legislation to allow it will be introduced by the Republican leader in the state House, he said.

“This proposal presents a golden mean between two extremes,” Horne said. “One extreme is to allow all teachers to bring guns to school, which could create more dangers than it prevents. The other extreme is to do nothing, which everyone will regret if a preventable incident like Newtown would occur in the future.”