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Extreme views about gun control

| March 26, 2013 | 0 Comments

Schooling and guns have also been at the centre of US media reports since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012, when 20 pupils and six teachers were fatally gunned down by Adam Lanza. Post his re-inauguration, President Barack Obama announced a plan designed to curb other school massacres, based on recommendations made by an anti-violence task force. The plan proposes detailed background checks prior to all gun sales and a total ban on the sale of military-style assault weapons. Such controversial suggestions in a country where there are an estimated 300 million guns in the hands of ordinary citizens will demand congressional approval.

However, other plans can be executed immediately under executive order, including establishing police ‘resource officers’, specially trained to respond quickly to threats at schools, stepping up the design of emergency response plans for education institutions, and making regular safety practice drills and inspections mandatory. The resource officers, along with psychologists and social workers, will be paid by a new US$150 million Comprehensive School Safety Fund that Obama wants put in place. The fund is part of a programme that will also pay for school safety equipment and the training of teachers to deal with crises. Obama’s administration also seeks to allocate onetime grants of US$30 million to states to upgrade their emergency preparedness, and US$50 million to improve schools’ climates and discipline and reward systems.

A central facet of Obama’s plan is the proposed Project for Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education (AWARE), aimed at providing mental care to over 750 000 young people deemed to be ‘at risk’. Meanwhile, thousands of teachers in Utah, Ohio and Arizona have taken advantage of gun lobby groups’ offers of free tactical firearms training. Utah is one of a few states that allow people to carry licensed concealed weapons into public schools. And in Maine, David Burns, a state senator, has proposed a bill that would allow teachers and other school employees to carry concealed weapons on the job.

Category: Autumn 2013

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