Former Ed Secretary: Arm School Employees

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting that claimed 26 lives Friday, former Education Secretary Bill Bennett said Sunday that schools should possibly consider arming certain employees to prevent attacks.

“Let’s remember the good things here: the heroism of those teachers and that principal,” Bennett said on “Meet the Press.” “And I’m not so sure — and I’m sure I’ll get mail for this — I’m not so sure I wouldn’t want one person in a school armed, ready for this kind of thing.”

“The principal lunged at this guy,” Bennett, who served as education secretary under Ronald Reagan, went on. “The school psychologist lunged at the guy. It has to be someone who’s trained, responsible. But, my god, if you can prevent this kind of thing, I think you ought to.”

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers union, advised against arming school employees.

“Schools have to be safe sanctuaries,” she said. “We need to actually stop this routine view that just having more guns will actually make people safer. We are opposed to having someone who has access to guns.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also said more guns weren’t the answer.

“Is this the way we want America to go?” Feinstein said. “In other words, the rights of the few overcome the safety of the majority? I don’t think so.”

Friday’s shooting at Sandy Hook School has launched a national debate on gun control, with Feinstein announcing Sunday that she will introduce a bill to ban assault weapons on the first day of the new Congress. The massacre has also renewed a discussion on school security, with Newtown now the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, behind Virginia Tech.

Feinstein laid out details of her bill on Sunday, saying, “it will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively,” and also ban the sale of clips of more than ten bullets. “The purpose of this bill is to get … weapons of war off the streets,” she said.

A previous assault weapons ban was signed into law in 1994 but expired ten years later.

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