McDonnell: Arm Principals? 

During a radio interview, Virginia's governor suggests gun-toting schools could prevent another Sandy Hook.

click to enlarge SCOTT ELMQUIST

While U.S. Sen. Mark Warner made calls for “rational gun control,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell took the conversation in the opposite direction Tuesday, suggesting more guns in schools might be the solution to prevent future violent rampages.

“If a person [such as Sandy Hook’s principal] was armed and trained, could they have stopped the carnage?” McDonnell said during an interview on WTOP. “Perhaps.”

McDonnell continued: “If someone had been armed, there would have been a possibility to stop the person from coming into the school. … I know there is a knee-jerk reaction against that, but I think we should have a discussion about it."

Similar proposals have already been floated elsewhere. In Tennessee, a lawmaker has promised to propose legislation that would secretly arm some school teachers, according to Talking Points Memo. The state's governor, who like McDonnell is a Republican, says "the idea will be part of his discussions about how to prevent a shooting like the one in Newtown from happening in the Volunteer State," according to TPM.

In Virginia, the reaction against McDonnell's professed openness to the idea of arming teachers has been met with swift opposition from the left.

"There is just no reason for there to be guns in schools,” Anna Scholl, executive director of ProgressVA, tells the Richmond Times Dispatch. “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.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Roanoke Republican, says he'll do what he can to block any new gun control measures. Goodlatte will have jurisdiction over any new firearms legislation next year when he will take over as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

“We’re going to take a look at what happened there and what can be done to help avoid it in the future, but gun control is not going to be something that I would support,” he tells the Roll Call.


Prince William Republican Del. Robert G. Marshall has already promised to propose legislation that would require schools to have some employees undergo fire arm training.

State Democrats say they're appalled by the idea.

"There are more guns in America than people, and yet we have one of the highest rates of gun violence in the world," says state Democratic Caucus Chair Sen. A. Donald McEachin in a statement. "The Governor should know better than to suggest that arming citizens will solve anything. Maybe the Governor should focus on solutions that could actually have an impact, like banning the high-capacity magazines used to inflict horrific violence upon countless American cities, from Aurora to Newton."

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