Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday that he thinks there is “a reasonable discussion” to be had about allowing adults to be armed inside public schools.
“I know there’s been a kneejerk reaction against that,” he said on Washington’s WTOP. “I think there should at least be a discussion of that. If people were armed, not just a police officer, but other school officials who were trained and chose to have a weapon certainly there’d been an opportunity to stop aggressors coming into the school.”
“I think that’s a reasonable discussion that ought to be had,” he said.
McDonnell said he has supported a ban in Virginia on people bringing firearms into schools, with exception of law enforcement.
He noted that among those killed in the Connecticut school massacre was the principal, who reportedly ran toward the shooter to try to protect the students.
“If a person like that was armed and trained could they have stopped the carnage in the classroom? Perhaps.”
McDonnell, who on Monday called for a statewide review of school safety procedures in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., said the key is “don’t overreact.”
“Don’t react solely when you’re emotional because your policies may not be right but really get to the bottom of what works and what can actually make a difference.”
McDonnell stressed during the interview that he thinks the conversation should include school safety procedures, firearms laws and mental health and a broader discussion about personal responsibility, parenting and a violence culture.
“There is just no reason for there to be guns in schools,” said Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA. “Period. Instead of forcing our teachers to carry weapons and our children to live in fear every day, we should let them focus on teaching and learning and demand that our leaders worry about keeping dangerous weapons off the streets and out of the hands of criminals.”