Babeu: Train, arm school administrators, teachers


December 26, 2012 - 2:33 pm
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu proposes a change in the “safe school zone” laws to allow for school administrators and designated teachers to be armed to initially defend against any violent attack on their school

Babeu also supports assigning a deputy or police officer in every school as proposed by the NRA.

“Much the same way that commercial airline pilots have been trained and armed to defend their aircraft, school administrators and designated teachers would be trained by local law enforcement and armed to protect themselves, other staff and their students. Administrators and teachers are highly educated, they know their schools and love the children. Past efforts to protect innocent children and our schools have resulted in making them more vulnerable and more alluring as targets for mass killings,” Babeu said. “Restrictive gun laws, or even trying to take guns away from millions of law-abiding citizens is unconstitutional and will not stop this violence. The immediate reality for every law enforcement leader is how do we best protect our schools, which are not fully protected and are not as safe as they should be in order to be called “safe school zones?”

Babeu added, “The NRA is correct, we need a cop in every school. We also need to train and arm school administrators and designated teachers to protect themselves and our school children. Even with an officer on campus, some of these schools are quite large. The officer can’t be everywhere on campus and having trained and armed administrators and designated teachers could help limit and contain the active shooter. The deputy or police officer should not simply provide armed security, yet should be a school resource officer (SRO). SROs are carefully selected officers trained to teach classes, mentor students, building positive relationships with students and staff and are one of the best defenses against an active shooter in a school.”

In response to calls for new gun laws, Babeu said, “We have a people problem, not a gun problem. The reality is there will be little if any change in gun laws, which is not the solution anyway. We have over 20,000 laws and regulations on firearms, yet none of them prevented these mass killings. Criminals, mentally ill mass killers and terrorists do not follow current law and they certainly will not follow any future laws.”

Sadly, there is a long history of school shootings in our nation and the “safe school zone act” of 1990 and 1995 have provided mass killers an even more alluring target of unarmed children, teachers and staff.

Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 defines a school zone as the area “in, or on the grounds of... or within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of a public, parochial or private (elementary or secondary) school.”

These mass killers have not shown any inclination to go where defenders with guns may be present. They target safe school zones, movie theaters, college campuses, malls and even military bases. Where ever there are areas where guns are not allowed, the law- abiding good citizens are unarmed and in fact, become magnets and even sitting targets for any evil mass killers. Even the victims at Ft. Hood were trained with firearms, yet were unarmed during the duty day. That means that they did not have any guns with them and the only soldiers that carried that day were the police and the Islamic terrorist, just like any other gun-free zone.

In response to the 9-11 attacks, the TSA was created, the federal air marshals program expanded and deployed on most international and many domestic flights and pilots were also trained and armed to defend their aircraft and passengers. Our school children and staff must also be protected by amending the “Gun- Free Safe School Zones” to allow for armed administrators/designated teachers and to deploy an SRO in every school.




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