The President of the American Federations of Teachers says it’s time to stop the gun violence in schools across the United States. But putting armed guards in every school won’t work.
“We should be getting guns out of schools not in schools,” says Randi Weingarten the head of the AFT.
She points to Columbine as a perfect example of why arming teachers or trained personnel doesn’t work.
“Columbine had an armed security officer. It didn’t help! If you’re really going to do something like that where you really want to have armed security officers in schools and you think that’s going to help, you’d have to post them at every door!” said Weingarten.
Weingarten, a guest on Thursday’s MetroNews Talkline, says the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT hit close to home.
“The folks in Newtown are my members! The tragedy is unspeakable.”
Twenty children and six teachers were killed earlier this month when a man armed with a semi automatic assault weapon entered the school and fired off dozens of rounds.
While Weingarten stresses she is not against the 2nd Amendment, she is for changes in U.S. policy on gun control. She points to Israel, Canada and Australia as examples of countries who have stricter gun control laws and fewer mass shootings.
She says in Israel the person who owns the weapon is responsible for the weapon.
“If the person who has the gun is not the gun owner, then the gun owner is slapped with a huge fine and a jail sentence,” says Weingarten. “So they make it real in terms of insuring gun safety.”
In the Newtown incident, the shooter, Adam Lanza, did not have a permit for the guns. They belonged to his mother.
Weingarten says in Australia, that country has banned assault weapons and the sale of large magazines. The government has tightened the permit process to own a gun and promotes gun safety.
She believes the U.S. needs a similar policy. And is aghast at what she calls the the NRA’s “solution” to the problem.
“The NRA came out that day and said nothing is wrong, just put more guns in schools. It was just so totally, completely out of touch,” says the AFT leader.
Weingarten says if something is not done, another tragedy like Newtown is just around the corner.