The National Rifle Association, the nation’s largest gun-rights group, has blocked gun-control efforts and opposes new ones. In the wake of the Newtown shootings, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre condemned efforts to tighten gun laws and instead recommended putting armed guards in all schools to stop shootings.
The general idea isn’t far-fetched, according to the three local gun shop owners. Schools that are “gun-free” zones are vulnerable to an attack by someone who knows they are “easy-pickings” and won’t react in a show of force. An armed presence could be a deterrent, they said.
Losie suggested veterans returning from Afghanistan, after passing psychological evaluations, could be hired at teacher salaries to provide protection at schools. They would be a deterrent to violence at schools, he said, and the step would provide jobs to veterans.
Fitzgerald said teachers or principals, properly trained, could carry guns as a life-saving deterrent.
Mike Mayhood, owner of Mayhood’s Sporting Goods, said an armed presence might prompt a perpetrator to “think twice” about attacking a school.
This week in Washington, Vice President Joe Biden met to discuss gun control issues with NRA officials Thursday and with victims groups and gun-safety organizations Wednesday.
In New York, state law already bans assault weapons, defined as semi-automatic guns that can accept detachable magazines and have military-style features. State law also bans magazines that can hold more than 10 bullets and were made after 1994.
On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State address called for restrictions to close loopholes in the state’s ban and for reviews of handgun license-holders to ascertain whether they still qualify to possess weapons.
Mayhood said some loopholes need to be closed, such as the lack of background checks. But guns — used for hunting, protection and recreation — are a necessary part of life in the United States, he said, and citizens’ rights to own firearms shouldn’t be taken away.