Mark Steyn on why he opposes NRA’s federal plan to put armed guards in schools

Mark Steyn says that a federal schoolhouse security force that puts an armed guard in each school will be a bureaucratized nightmare and that he believes it’s better for a school district to appoint someone who will assume that role. Because as he points out, the right people for the job are already at these schools.

He also makes the point that it took police 20 minutes to get to Sandy Hook Elementary, saying no one will be there for you when the world goes bust which is why you need to be able to fully defend yourself whether it’s at school or anywhere for that matter.

He makes other great points as well, including why the 2nd amendment isn’t just about your right to bear arms.


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  • RefudiateGOPe

    I like Mark Stein, but apparently he didn’t listen to or read the entire NRA presentation.

    Wayne LaPierre:

    “The NRA is going to bring all of its knowledge, dedication and resources to develop a model National School Shield Emergency Response Program for every school that wants it. From armed security to building design and access control to information technology to student and teacher training, this multi-faceted program will be developed by the very best experts in their fields.

    Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson will lead this effort as National Director of the National School Shield Program, with a budget provided by the NRA of whatever scope the task requires. His experience as a U.S. Attorney, Director of the Drug Enforcement Agency and Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security will give him
    the knowledge and expertise to hire the most knowledgeable and credentialed experts available anywhere, to get this program up and running from the first day forward.”

    Asa Hutchinson:

    “This model security plan will serve as a template — a set of best practices, principles and guidelines that every school in America can tweak, if needed, and tailor to their own set of circumstances.

    Every school and community is different, but this model security plan will allow every school to choose among its various components to develop a school safety strategy that fits their own unique situation, whether it’s a large urban school, a small rural school or anything in between.

    Armed, trained, qualified school security personnel will be one element of that plan, but by no means the only element. If a school decides for whatever reason that it doesn’t want or need armed security personnel, that of course is a decision to be made by parents at the local level.

    The second point I want to make is that this will be a program that doesn’t depend on massive funding from local authorities or the federal government. Instead, it’ll make use of local volunteers serving in their own communities.”

    The NRA is stepping forward to organize the effort to put together the framework to bolster security in schools.

    • Wayne LaPierre: “I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January.”

      • RefudiateGOPe

        Appropriating funds, which I disagree with, isn’t the same as making the actual program a Federal Program. If you read the words of Hutchinson, who will be heading up the effort for the NRA, it’s pretty clear that a federal program is not what they’re advocating.

        I think the words, “I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January.” was an attempt to slow down the talk about banning guns. Otherwise, why was Hutchinson pretty clear about each community deciding what is right for their own schools?

        • When Congress begins appropriating funds like this, it becomes a federal program. After all, this isn’t a one time deal. Schools aren’t going anywhere. Nor are criminals.

          So I don’t think Steyn is as wrong as you suggest. Federal intervention is what LaPierre called for.

          Otherwise, he would have called for each state or locality within states to appropriate funds to do it.

          • RefudiateGOPe

            In other words, you want to ignore what Hutchinson said? Again, I think you (and Steyn) took part of what LaPierre said and are ignoring the rest of it.

            Besides, I think LaPierre’s biggest objective was to shift the conversation. I don’t favor Federal funding, but that certainly wasn’t the entirety of the statement. If he had stopped after that sentence about Congressional appropriation, then you and Steyn would be 100% correct. I think Hutchinson’s statement is much more representative of what the NRA wants to happen.

            • Not ignoring it. But he did call for federal spending to make this happen. And you know what happens when the federal government starts spending that money…

              • RefudiateGOPe

                Oh, I agree with you about federal spending, but to some degree he shifted the debate. Many of the gun-grabbers immediately attacked the idea of armed security in the schools and those favoring the idea are debating how it should be funded.

                • He did and there certainly was a fair amount of CYA even though it wasn’t needed.

                • Gtrjag

                  I don’t see the need to have special security, no matter how they are funded, in the schools. Mark Stein is exactly right. The Second Amendment is gives the citizens themselves the responsibility of protecting a free state. Allow the teachers and school personnel to carry weapons and protect the students. What we don’t need is a bunch of jack-boot law enforcement officers, local or Federal, searching student bags and treating everybody like criminals, and trust me in todays political climate that is exactly what would happen.

        • conservative58

          My concern would be that if Congress were to appropriate the funds for such a program, they would eventually want to run the program.

          • keyesforpres

            And with O in charge, who’s to say he wouldn’t have the armed feds turn on the kids. I don’t trust any federal program…that would give them access to all our kids.

          • demographicallychallenged

            Their 1st objective is to get federal dollars into the system and make the local government, dependent on them. Then they pressure them with other demands to keep the money coming in. The end result is you lose local control(states/city/county rights), and move closer to a Central Government. It’s all about consolidating power period.

      • Orangeone

        Immediate stop gap funding measure Scoop, not long-term solution or federal government level program perhaps taking aim at the programs Barky Boy defunded in his 2012 and 2013 budgets. Solutions should be at local school district level but their state-level funding is decided during the budget process. So for MN, the fiscal year ends 6/30/13.

        Would be best to simply divert all federal welfare appropriations to school security instead.

        • have you ever known the federal gov to relinquish control of anything?
          once the fed dollar hits the ownership starts.

          • Orangeone

            There was an existing grant program in place, not program control, just grants. The House controls the funding. The control was at the local level, my district participated and our kids were safe.  Districts have the option to not apply for a grant and fund it locally which is what we have subsequently done.

            • iirc that grant program cannot apply to newer participants.
              I could be wrong, but I do not trust the feds to let states handle anything with guarding schools especially since TSA has been unionized.

              • Orangeone

                I know I’m likely in the minority supporting this but would rather see armed security that countless school districts forming committees, to form committees, to form subcommittees to have meetings to discuss only to submit up 3 committee levels and NEVER accomplish anything and have another school shooting while they are talking (and I use that term loosely) and wasting funds that could be used for armed security.

                • I’m not at all opposed to armed security, but i would like to make sure any and all laws/regs/etc specifically state that each state will control it.
                  that would assuage a lot of my fears

                • Orangeone

                  I agree and had suggested funding only through end of school year. That’s when the school districts formulate their budget for the next school year and would have to elect to include funding or not.

                • thinking on it I really think the union issue will be a huge issue too.
                  once fed dollars used specific employment laws are applicable (and tbh I do not remember the refrences now) that I feel (NO proof, just a feeling) would drive this to TSA baliwick.
                  that scares me more than the few incidents we’ve had, as I think that would lead to MORE incidents.

                • keyesforpres

                  What if the feds hire muslims?

                • Orangeone

                  The grant is issued feds do not do the hiring. What about those that want teachers armed do they want mooslim teachers with guns?

                • keyesforpres

                  Nope, wouldn’t want any muslim teachers armed, but that wouldn’t stop them anyway. There are more musims in the federal gov’t than the other way around.

            • Don’t you think that they would use that funding to control any program, local or state? Our school curriculum used to be controlled by the local school district, but due to federal funding, the feds essentially mandate a certain curriculum “or else”.

              Edit: The states are broke, and the feds get easy money.

              • Orangeone

                If the feds want to do that they already have the power. States receive massive funding for roads, bridges, welfare, medicaid and an abundance of other social welfare programs that include bennies for kids.

                • They certainly do take the power, and since we let them, they have the power.

          • That too. Especially this government.

        • Once the federal government begins spending money on something that doesn’t exist, they will be forced to continue spending money on it as the states will claim, honestly or not, that they don’t have the funding to continue it. And, it’s for the children.

          Thus, it becomes a federal program.

          • Orangeone

            Understand Scoop. I totally oppose the federal Dept of Education and would like to see it defunded. But until we can make it happen, sickos will continue to target schools because that’s what gets the public and media attention.
            The former grant program was previously funded 2000-2003 only.  If done correctly, the bill would limit funding through the end of the school year and summer school with the states required to provide future funding.  It’s about the formation of the law and communication to the public (conversely to what Barky Boy and his buddies did with ObamaCare).

      • you beat me to it.
        it always sounded to me like LaPierre was thinking federal.

      • That has been my concern with the LaPierre plan. If you consider how Hitler took control of entire societies, this resembles a natural progression toward that kind of federal take over. Even if that is not a concern to a person, federal funding equals federal control and a bigger federal government. It is anti-conservative.

  • Cindy09

    I recently read that Sidwell Friends had 11 armed guards. Wished that all school in America could get something close to the same type of security.

  • conservative58

    Great point! The last thing we need is to give the Federal government the power to oversee ‘arming’ our local schools.

    • RefudiateGOPe

      That’s not what the NRA is advocating. See my comment below.

      • conservative58

        Refudiate, I posted my comment based on the video. I saw your comment AFTER I had posted. 🙂

        I’m glad the NRA is not advocating the Federal government be in charge of such a program. But I can certainly see the government seizing an opportunity to grab power wherever they can, and that would be disastrous!

  • ApplePie101

    None of this should be the purview of federal government. The national department of education should be eliminated, and states assume complete responsibility for their schools and school security. The only thing more insane that nationalizing our healthcare is nationalizing our children’s security.

    • RefudiateGOPe

      I agree fully agree with what you wrote. Steyn is misstating what the NRA is advocating. They advocate a program to work with local schools to help them improve their security. The NRA is not calling for a Federal program.

      • I agree with you. Steyn has created a “straw man”, not for the first time. But the NRA has also talked itself into a corner while trying to shift the debate. Any retreat of this kind never satisfies but only emboldens the gun controllers.

        • RefudiateGOPe

          I would agree about talking itself into a corner, if the NRA always took a conservative position, but they don’t. Beyond defense of the 2nd Amendment, the NRA is a mixed bag. For instance, the NRA endorsed Harry Reid in 2010. In 2012, the NRA endorsed Ben Chandler (D, KY) over Andy Barr (R, KY). I doubt that LaPierre cares one way or the other about the ultimate funding. He shifted the debate. He’s smiling.

  • JM_in_WASH

    Schools already have police and armed security guards, paid for by property taxes-a school expense. This isn’t a Fed issue, it’s a state’s issue, keep it there.

    • Orangeone

      Some do like mine but not all schools. The inner city Mpls schools do not and the Democrat Mayor, with his eye on higher office, is against it too.

  • 911Infidel

    Good points. But what exactly DID the Founders say about the second amendment. Here’s a sample:

    We established however some, although not all its [self-government] important principles . The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed;
    —Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824. Memorial Edition 16:45, Lipscomb and Bergh, editors.

    No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms.

    —Thomas Jefferson: Draft Virginia Constitution, 1776.

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
    —Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.

    To model our political system upon speculations of lasting tranquility, is to calculate on the weaker springs of the human character.
    —Alexander Hamilton

    Quotes from the Founders During the Ratification Period of the Constitution
    [The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.
    —James Madison,The Federalist Papers, No. 46.

    To suppose arms in the hands of citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self-defense, or by partial orders of towns, countries or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man; it is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws.
    —John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States 475 (1787-1788)

    Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.
    —Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).

    Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American…[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.
    —Tenche Coxe, The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

    • Excellent quotes.

      • 911Infidel

        Thanks. If the little mush heads in school spent more time reading Jefferson, Adams, Webster and Washington, instead of Zinn, Chomsky and Said, Baracky bin-Obama wouldn’t be President and Hairy Weed would be dirty words never to be spoken of in mixed company.

  • Joe

    Cut back federal subsidies to the United Nations and foreign Nations as needed

    Then allocate $100,000 to each school in the US (which means us)

    To be supervised by the local district/school for an armed guard program

    Under this plan – The program would cost us zero$$



    • Orangeone

      Using your figures, 14,000 schools could have had armed security if the Barky Boy family vacations in 2012 (omitting the latest one) were paid for by them and not us.

    • Rshill7

      If you take federal dollars from one place and place it in another place, the dollars are still federal dollars and therefore federal intervention silly. I don’t get it.

      Case reopened 🙂

      • Joe

        The Federales would have NO input as to how the money would be spent

        The locals would have total discretion of spending.

    • savageob1

      fed money would mean fed commands which in turn would mean fed bureaucracy- just say no to the fed drug!

  • sjmom

    I think the less of the Feds we have locally the better we are and I say like education security should be local in nature. Let the locals handle security because they know what is needed in their schools, so in this I agree with Mark.

  • A Federal program for the schools? Well, since the TSA worked so “well,” I don’t think you want the Feds taking care of your security, either, in the schools. Let the towns decide how much security they need.

  • johnos2112

    Federal govt control will not work. Leave it up to the schools to determine what needs to be done. Not very complicated!

  • Nukeman60

    TSA for schoolhouses. Why do I get the impression of brownshirted, untrained, unionized SEIU members guarding first our schools, then our banks, then our grocery stores, and finally on every street corner? It makes me shudder.

    “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” – Barack Obama

    • bjohnson55

      It should scare every reasonable human being with two brain cells to rub together. You know that is exactly what these Marxists are thinking, “Never let a good tragedy go to waste”.

    • keyesforpres

      Exactly. Why would anyone want the feds in our schools and armed. Don’t think O wouldn’t hold our kids hostage and demand we turn over our guns. I’d rather let the teachers carry guns. Even the liberals ones, over letting the feds in with guns.

  • Alborn

    There are Resource Officers in high schools and middle schools all over the country. In my county the grants that helped train and pay for the placement of these officers ended from the feds many years ago and counties or cities had to come up with the money to keep these officers in the schools. In the school system where my children went to high school the county always found the money to keep armed officers in the schools. There is one elementary school that has an armed officer as well. This is not a new idea. The left is just using this issue as they always do to stir up trouble. Disarm the government and then we will think about more gun laws for law abiding citizens. The biggest criminals in the country are running our country right now. Tax cheats, insider trading, selling votes to lobbyests, using secret emails accounts, meeting in secret outside of white house to avoid making information available to public, selling guns to Mexican gun runners, and on and on and on. These criminals in Washington DC will not get to tell us how to live. We will not COMPLY!

    • demographicallychallenged

      You must live in W Central Fl. too. To compensate for the loss of Federal dollars here, they didn’t replace officers lost to attrition and retirement. That left less officers on the street, but kept the other programs staffed.

  • clockwindingdown

    All able body person at schools should be authorized to carry. They should seek instruction of self defense and firearm use as part of their requirement of a teaching certificate. If they are not able to be authorized we should seriously reconsider why they should be allowed near our children. Physically disabled instructors exempted of course.

    All of us as a citizen, and therefore a member of our local militia as intended by our founding fathers should be as well. Any one of us maybe put in a position where we can render services of protection to anyone at anytime. It is possible a parent could be on campus dropping off or picking up a student outside regular hours whom could be of assistant. Not mention shopping malls, restaurants, parks, etc..

    Yes, there had been federal monies in place, started under clinton, cancelled under “O” for police in schools. No, we don’t want feds involved, we don’t want them involved in what they already have stuck their noses! This is a local issue, should be addressed at a local level, funded at a local level. People already in the school should already have this covered! Are these same people not prepared at home or in their daily lives to protect their own families?

    NRA volunteering to set up guidelines an aid in training is patriotic. This is an opportunity that schools, all of us in fact, should seek to take advantage of.

    • Conniption Fitz

      There are so many union-protected left-leaning poorly-educated low-living teachers these days and I would not want them teaching my children, much less carrying weapons.

      • keyesforpres

        Just like any crazy shooter, a crazy teacher would bring a gun in a gun free zone. I’d rather let some of the teachers carry than have armed feds in our schools.

        • clockwindingdown


          20 minute police response time. The shooter could have driven to an airport and been out of the country.

          What the leftist will never admit is this is their fault. They are the ones that create these gunfree zones. This was their utopia, it could never happen because it was gunfree, the shooter didn’t own a weapon, no one steals or commits crimes. Just like all the other school shootings. This unfortunate tragedy happened with all of their restrictions in place. It is proof their system does not, will not, cannot work. Mass murder has happened throughout record history, long before the gun was ever invented.

          As conservatives we understand that there is always a possibility of evil striking. We therefore act to limit what destruction can be caused. The leftist always set it up for maximum damage. Do people whom really care about others act this way? Of course not, responsible people, the ones the left ridicule, plan for the best but prepare for what should be unthinkable. If we had our way the destruction would be more limited. Our energies would be spent trying to decide how next time the destruction could be limited more. In stead the left try to increase the frequency and the destruction by drawing imaginary lines that criminals and nut jobs pay no attention too, never have, never will.

  • bjohnson55

    The Federal Government should not have a thing to do with any security at a school period. The security should be controlled by the local school system or the local police force with absolutely no input from the Federal Government. You let Uncle Sam in the door and it turns into an out of control overly expensive toga party. No thanks to that, keep it local.

  • I agree with Mark. I understand what LaPierre is coming from but I think it is knee jerk reaction-ism on the level of progressives and their screaming for gun control.

  • PatrickHenrysBody

    Perhaps Zero can reassign personnel from his “Civilian National Security Force” to perform such a task? Already paid for, right? Ahem…*cough* *cough*

  • I agree with Mark. Everything the federal government touches turns to sh*t. If the government had done even a minimally competent job with visas, and checking on people whose visas had expired, 9/11 would not have happened. Security at our schools should be handled on a local basis.

  • We need patriots

  • MadAsHellJack

    Once the Federal government becomes involved in anything it becomes a mismanaged bureaucratic overspending nightmare. Keep the Feds out of this.

  • Kordane

    I see 62 comments here, but amazingly there hasn’t been a single person who mentioned that all schools should’ve been privately owned in the first place, that those private schools would then be free to decide what their own security should be, and parents would be free to send their children to whatever schools had the security they desired for their child.

    Privatize the entire public school system. Get government completely out of education.

    There’s your solution right there.

    Not to mention that it’ll also solve other issues, like how the Left control the education of the youth, indoctrinate them with liberal ideas, etc.

    • It would also cause the price of education to go down, and the quality up. If you haven’t listened to Charlotte Iserbyt, you should check her out on youtube. She goes way back in on the public education issue of indoctrination. She worked at the DEO when Reagan was shutting it down.