Republicans call for arming teachers, more police in schools after Uvalde shooting

Unified opposition to calls for restrictions on gun ownership

Eric Garcia,John Bowden
Wednesday 25 May 2022 18:00 EDT
Texas congressman says it's not time to talk about new gun laws

Republicans are offering a number of ideas in response to the deadly massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, mostly aimed around making US schools high-security zones on par with major banks or other institutions.

As Democrats loudly protest continued inaction surrounding the issue of widespread gun ownership and availability in America, Republicans are arguing instead that the conversation should be centered around making schools as difficult as possible to target for violent acts.

At the forefront of those calls are Republicans from Texas, where Tuesday’s deadly shooting occurred. The state’s junior senator, Ted Cruz, immediately layed into Democrats for calls to support gun control measures just hours after the shooting, declaring: “You see, Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. That doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.”

In an interview with CNN, he added: “We know from past experience that the most effective tool for keeping kids safe is armed law enforcement on the campus.”

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick seemed to agree, speaking on Fox News.

"We have to harden these targets,” he argued.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, even dredged up a push from some Republicans under the Trump administration to arm teachers directly, though many have expressed concerns about what giving that responisibility to America’s already low-paid and often overworked teachers would do to the overall public school system.

“We can potentially arm and prepare and train teachers and other administrators to respond quickly. That, in my opinion, is the best answer,” he told Fox News.

That call has not been echoed by many Republicans on the national stage. Some, like Senators Ron Johnson and Rick Scott, are pushing legislation that would make official a sort of “best practices” for school safety guide that was developed by a handful of agencies and encourage school systems to apply for grants to improve security on campuses. The legislation is largely ceremonial, other than requiring the Department of Homeland Security to continue developing such recommendations, and was dismissed by Democrats on Wednesday as such.

At least 19 children and two adults have been reported dead after a teenage gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in US city of Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday (Jae C Hong/AP)

The Independent spoke about with multiple Republican Senators about whether they supported arming teachers.

“Idea worth considering, some teachers, not all,” Senator Lindsey Graham told The Independent when asked.

Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said he was open to some teachers with military experience being armed.

“The proposal I saw was that potential personnel in schools that have military or law enforcement traning, that’s a proposal I’ve seen worth discussing,” he said.

Other Republicans like Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma were more taciturn, saying the state would make the decision, as did Senator Mitt Romney of Utah.

“That’s something each state would have to decide,” Mr Romney said.

Others, like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have wholly avoided suggesting any solutions whatsoever in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting of the year so far.

One potential new addition to the Senate, GOP candidate Herschel Walker of Georgia, even appeared to have been taken off guard by the notion of what the Senate’s response to the shooting should be. Mr Walker was asked what new legislation he would support after the shooting on Tuesday, which occurred amid his decisive victory in Georgia’s primary.

“What I like to do is see it and everything and stuff. I like to see it, and everything,” he told a CNN reporter before walking off.

Former President Donald Trump famously suggested arming teachers at a White House event following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, insisting at the time that a trained, armed educator “could end the attack very quickly” were a shooting to occur.

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