A prominent gun-control advocate in the House told the National Press Club today “you will not hear me beating up on the NRA.”
But Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) panned today’s National Rifle Association study advocating more armed school security as too limited.
“I don’t — you know, having more guns in school, I don’t think, is necessarily the answer. And with all due respect, I think that — but — but any jurisdiction that wants to take care of their kids in that way and their students, I think, you know, it may not be a bad proposal,” he said.
“But keep in mind, gun violence is not restricted to schools. You know, we’ve got malls, you know, movie theaters. In my neighborhood, the neighborhood I live in, I see this. So, I think, we have to look much — schools are one thing, but we’ve got to look at more of a — a general — take a general scope and try to address it in a more general way.”
Cummings admitted his district has guards “in certain schools.”
“But in talking to the guards, they tell me that the greatest benefit is intelligence. In other words, to be able to talk to the kids, to learn what might be going on, to — you know, to prevent fights and things of that nature,” the congressman said.
He said he hopes the NRA would look at Democrats’ proposals “and not do things to water them down.”
“I do know I have seen the — I’ve seen the reaction to the NRA with regard to some of our Republican co-sponsors and I think that the NRA and — and I’m not telling you all anything you don’t know — has put forth significant efforts to put forth their position and so I’m — I’m sure that people take that into consideration. You have other people who are certainly looking at, I assume their — their election possibilities — reelection,” Cummings continued.
“…And by the way, our constituents, I think, are pretty much convinced already. You talk about gun owners who say that they believe in — there should be background checks. I think it’s 90 percent.”
Former Rep. Asa Hutchison (R-Ark.), director of the National School Shield task force, delivered the NRA-funded plan at the Press Club.
Hutchison said he only took on the study after receiving assurances from the NRA that the effort would be free from the lobbying group’s interference.
“I’m here to tell you that the NRA has fulfilled its side of the bargain and has given us the level of independence. It has given us the support that is needed to reach the product that we’re presenting today, and, even to the point that there’s no guarantee the NRA will accept these recommendations. These recommendations are the recommendations of task force. This is our event, and the NRA will separately consider and respond to it,” he said.
The 225-page report studied everything from fencing and badges to security systems and surveillance monitoring on campuses.
“In terms of background checks, we all want to make sure that criminals, those that have been declared — with mental issues, that they not have access, and that’s a discussion in the country that will go on,” Hutchison said. “While the debate goes on, we’re trying to do something about school safety.”