A week after a deadly shooting claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school, the nation's leading gun advocate group is calling for armed security officers at every school, while HPISD looks to "closely examine" current security measures.
The National Rifle Association — which had been silent thus far on the recent influx of gun control debates — not only called for armed guards on campuses, but also advocated for a reduction in violence in the media and on video games.
According to a CNN report, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said the details of the proposed security measures should be "left to the discretion of local schools."
“The only way — the only way — to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection,” LaPierre said. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
He said that this particular issue is “complex, with no simple, single solution." LaPierre said, "But I believe trained, qualified, armed security is one key component among many that can provide the first line of deterrence as well as the last line of defense."
At the same time LaPierre read his statement, HPISD Superintendent Dawson Orr sent a letter to parents and faculty members, saying that "over the holidays, local law enforcement officials will walk each of our campuses with school leaders to closely examine the security measure we have in place and to provide recommendations for enhancements."
"School safety continues to weigh heavily on all of our minds as we depart for winter break," Orr said. "Please do not be alarmed if you see police and emergency vehicles parked outside our campuses over the break."
Orr also said the school district appreciates the commitment to student safety that local law enforcement officials share with HPISD.
It will likely become clearer after the start of the new year how local school officials will proceed with campus safety procedures, but one local gun store employee declined to come down on either side of the dispute and preferred to remain anonymous.
The worker from the specialty firearms shop Jackson Armory, located in Snider Plaza, said, “It’s a no-win situation for us… we try to stay out of the politics of it.”
A Jackson Armory representative also commented on a statement made by Dep. Atty. Gen. James Cole in July 2011, who responded to a measure that compels gun store owners to report repeated purchases of semi-automatic weapons within a five-day period in the border states.
The employee said to the Dallas Observer, "If that's what it is, I don't think it will affect our business much.”
Superintendent Orr addressed HPISD parents just days ago in an email regarding campus safety. The note came following the incident involving Highland Park High School student and football player Kace Coyle, who was arrested by University Park Police for having two machetes on school grounds. Orr reassured parents that the school district values school safety and that Coyle never entered the school building with the weapons.
Information provided by HPISD; reporting contributed by Nick Wade