Marcus Brandon

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A member of the North Carolina House of Representatives suggested on Tuesday that school administrators and teachers should have access to guns in an effort to ensure schools are safe from any threats on their campuses.

State Rep. Marcus Brandon, a Democrat who represents southeast Guilford County, said gun-free schools are easy targets for criminals. Brandon’s views, following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., were originally reported on Tuesday morning by The News & Record.

“A gun can do a lot,” Brandon said, according to the Greensboro paper. “And only another gun can stop it.”

Brandon, the state’s only openly gay legislator, reiterated and expanded his views with qnotes on Tuesday evening.

Brandon said he favors stricter gun regulation and safety measures, including proposals that could ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines or begin to address mental health challenges across the nation.

But, laws alone, he said, won’t immediately protect children.

“There is not a law that will stop someone who is absolutely crazy to the point you want to go into a school and shoot children,” Brandon told qnotes. “The only thing that will stop them is someone in the school ready enough to stop them.”

Brandon said a process could be created to allow certain administrators, teachers or school police officers to have access to firearms on school property. Such a process would allow administrators to immediately prevent a tragedy from unfolding on their campus.

“The only thing that will stop somebody is being able to have another gun,” Brandon said. “[Sandy Hook] had security measures, too, and [Adam Lanza]…went into the school and no one in the school had a gun and they have to wait until he finishes shooting or until someone else with a gun has arrived.”

The current situation that leaves school campuses undefended and open to danger is “bad policy,” said Brandon, in light of the constitutionally-backed availability of firearms to the public. Because of the Second Amendment, he doesn’t ever foresee the government enacting a complete ban on all guns.

“As long as you have some people with guns, the only result is that you have an elementary school sitting there and people with guns and no way to protect themselves,” he said. “The only thing that will stop a gunman is another gun.”

Brandon cited the heroics of Sandy Hook principle Dawn Hochsprung and school psychologist Mary Sherlach. Both reportedly confronted Lanza during his shooting spree.

“I would prefer her to walk down the hallway, with her choice, with a gun and shoot him and it would have been over,” Brandon said.

A plan to arm school officials could be made safe, Brandon argued.

“It could be a comprehensive plan,” he said. “There could be three guns and only the administrator and three people know where they are and the code to access them and get it only in that case. It could make it safe.”

Brandon also said there are bigger questions about gun safety and regulation in America. People die of gun violence in the U.S. every day, yet no attention is paid to them, he said.

Brandon said the tragedy in Newtown has been “heart wrenching” for him.

“But I also went to two funerals for kids in my district this year and it was just as heart wrenching,” he said. “The families cried just as much. It hurt just as much. It was senseless just as much.”

He thinks the current conversation on gun control is “political grandstanding” and said the nation needs to confront the problem head on.

“I’m all for tougher gun laws, but it won’t protect these kids who are just sitting there helpless,” he said. “I refuse to think [gun control laws] are the only way. It is a false conversation if we think kids will be protected just because we make stronger gun laws.”

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

2 replies on “NC lawmaker: Arming teachers and administrators will make school campuses safer”

  1. After reading this article I am a bit confused and pissed off. I would have hoped that a Democratic Rep. would have had a larger view of politics and the world.

    I am concerned that constituents voted for a Rep. who actually advocates for guns in schools. Why don’t we just have every Principle patroling the halls with an uzi slung over their back like Rambo. For heavens sake, how is bringing more guns into the school going to foster a safe environment where children can be themselves and learn? And how are they going to be able to have a relaxed state of mind to learn when their principal is lurking in the halls with the student body in their cross-hairs.

    Arming teachers and administrators is not the answer. To do so is to pay homage to the home-grown terrorists who want to bring fear and chaos into our world. What’s next? Do we send a pistol in the backpack of our young people? How about a grenade launcher in the cafeteria and a tank on the front lawn of the campus?

    The answer lies not in arming our schools like they are a military fortress, but takes a much more mature and complex approach.

    Has Rep. Brandon thought about the complications of his proposal? What if an unstable student or faculty member wrestles the gun away from the Principal or teacher and uses it against them? What if the gun is accidently misplaced and found by a student? What if it goes off or is shot accidently killing an innocent child or teacher? What if the school administrators and teachers don’t want to carry a gun or learn how to use one (they should have a right to not be armed )? What if parents and school board members actually want to get together and come up with some real solutions that work at combatting the problems of violence and school safety without knee-jerk, band-aide political hackery?

    If the NRA is hell bent on getting guns in the school than at least let it be in the hands of a safety officer who is hired for the sole purpose of being there to protect rather than giving educators one more responsibility on their shoulders.

    The problems are real, the consequences are real, the immature impulse to react with more violence is real………Lets just stop for a moment and take a breather and for God sakes can we elect some real politicians who want to work at real solutions and put the interest and safety of the public before that of their careers? Unbelievable!

    1. What law do you think would stop a person that shot his mother 3x in the face would be effective. The knee jerk reaction is saying stronger gun laws will help this situation and this is just not the case and there is not one single statistic that says so. If so post it here. Since we enacted “Gun Free Zones” school shootings has rose 370% – fact; 2% of kids die from automated weapons – fact;

      But according to your logic why don’t we just take protection out all together. After all why do our elected officials get armed protection, why is there protection at the courthouse, why would we have armed protection in every single gov’t building and agency- let’s just get rid of it. According to you all elected officals, federal gov’t employees, state employees, city employees, all should have armed protection, but a building with 800 children in it and staff should not. That is insane!All we have to do is hope that our culture changes and people finally understand mental health patients. Yes in a perfect world. Rep. Brandon has looked at this in a thoughtful way and come up with a plan it looks like to me to execute safely and successfully.

      Even if all the things you mentioned in your post happen which I pray that it does. What happens when a crazy person still gets into the school and wants to shoot babies. I for one cannot imagine being a principal of a school and hear my children getting shot one by one and merely have to hope that the police get there to stop them. And the principal in CT. could not take it either. So she ran down the hallway to help her children and the only thing she could do is throw her body at him. He killed her and the children. We can do better than that.

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