Back in December, after a noticeably long silence in the days that followed Newtown, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre took the stage in Washington, D.C., to unveil the gun lobby’s answer to the tragedy that left 20 first-graders and six school staff members dead: the National School Shield Program, an effort to provide school’s with armed guards. Beginning tomorrow, expect to hear a lot more about the NRA-backed plan. CNN reports that the group has finished its final report on the initiative, and is set to unveil its more formal recommendations to Congress:
On Tuesday the NRA will announce its own findings and issue a report on how they believe schools can prevent future gun violence similar to the Newtown tragedy. The National School Shield Program will present to lawmakers, law enforcement, school officials and the public a combination of policy proposals and resources to implement its recommendations, CNN has learned.
The NRA is expected to give Congress legislative proposals in the Tuesday report. Law enforcement officials will find training recommendations to prepare the armed guards who the organization believes should be available to schools. State and local officials will find guidelines on how to alter their ordinances to permit the armed guards.
The timing of the release is no coincidence. It comes as the gun control/safety debate continues to heat up in the Senate, where lawmakers are at work on a deal that would expand background checks. While the NRA plan is likely to garner a lot of attention given the lobby’s position in the national gun conversation, it’s worth remembering that the group’s proposal is an attempt to shrink the larger debate to focus it on school shootings specifically, and not gun violence in society at large.
Also worth remembering: There are doubts about how effective such a shield program would be (an armed guard at Columbine was unable to prevent that tragedy), and concerns about what it would cost to implement (at least $5.5 billion if extended to every school in the country).