Mass. Educators, Politicians Aren’t Quick To Embrace NRA Proposal
BOSTON — After Friday’s moment of silence for the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary school, the National Rifle Association broke its silence on the mass shooting. Wayne LaPierre, the group’s executive vice president, called for armed security in schools. He said it would protect young students and create jobs for some of the millions of retired military and police across the country.
“The NRA’s proposal to bring armed guards into every school is very impulsive and wrong-headed,” said Paul Toner, the president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
He says such a measure would make schools more dangerous and that teachers want more emphasis not on protection, but rather prevention.
“We need greater access to mental health services,” Toner said. “We need to prevent bullying and we need to have meaningful action to curb access to assault weapons.”
Scott Malkasian disagrees with that last point. The owner of Pullman Arms, a gun store in Worcester which sold out of assault weapons this week, Malkasian says ownership is not the problem.
“You know the problem is people need to keep control of their firearms better,” Malkasian said.
Malkasian says Massachusetts requires that a gun lock is sold with each purchase, which he says could have made a difference in Connecticut. But he’s afraid that the reaction to the school shooting will be a knee-jerk one.
“You know, the government is desperate to do something, and unfortunately they’ll probably do the wrong thing and keep the guns out of honest citizens while the criminals will still have guns,” Malkasian said.
That’s one of the arguments the NRA made Friday.
“And I listened to the press conference [Friday] that Wayne LaPierre held and quite honestly, it was a little nutty,” says U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern.
McGovern says arming more people in schools is the wrong way to go. And he thinks many gun owners would agree with that.
“My guess is a lot of people are going to be calling the NRA to say, ‘End my membership,’ ” McGovern said. “Because there are a lot of gun owners who do not believe what Wayne LaPierre said, and I hope they make their voices heard loud and clear.”
Massachusetts is not the NRA’s base. The organization has apparently never given any money to McGovern or any of his state colleagues in Congress. The Center for Responsive Politics says the only donation made to a Massachusetts candidate in the 2012 election was less than $6,000 for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.