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.”