Gainesville district schools may soon be issued with AR-15 assault rifles to defend against massacres like Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The rifles will be stored in the school resource offices and accessed by fingerprint recognition only.
Gainesville police approached the northeast school district with this proposal in April 2013 and it was discussed by teachers, parents and police on Monday Sept. 30.
One Colt 6920 M4 rifle would be issued to each school and kept in a safe that can only be accessed by the school resources officer. The Gainesville police came up with the idea in April following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, with 26 people killed.
Brian Kelly, Chief of Police in the area, told the local Gainesville Times that his department’s "first and foremost" priority is "protection of life".
The rifles will cost around around $6,000 each and each school will need a safe. Costs for the project will be split by police and the school system. It is not anticipated that the weapons will remain on school premises unattended.
27 percent of U.S. schools already have armed guards and statistics show about one homicide for every 2.7 million schoolchildren in the States.
Dr. Peter Langman, a psychologist and author of 'Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters' commented: “If schools put more focus on early detection of warning signs and [the creation of] threat assessment teams, that would be doing more to prevent school shootings than putting more guns in schools. [The latter is] not prevention, that’s emergency response.”
Current statistics seem to show no difference in the homicide statistics between the schools that have armed guards and those that do not and recent vulnerability assessments on most school districts by Ashland University in Ohio has shown it's still relatively easy for strangers to access school buildings. Any widespread issue of rifles to schools and school officers may be a double-edged sword though as problems with insurances and potential claims in the event of the occurrence of a massacre could skyrocket.