Sonoma County educators decry NRA proposal for armed guards

Putting armed guards in schools to deter violence is not something local educators, parents and even law enforcement see as viable.

The National Rifle Association's suggestion Friday that armed guards should be placed at every school to protect children from mass shootings was quickly dismissed as counter-productive, costly and probably unnecessary.

"Schools are safe havens and while you may have some horrible things happen in isolated incidents, by and large our schools are very safe," said Windsor Schools Superintendent Tammy Gabel, echoing the sentiments of other educators interviewed Friday.

The NRA's solution to stopping shootings like those that occurred last week in Newtown, Conn., was condemned by California elected officials.

"Everyone agrees our schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, streets and communities need to be safer. But we need a comprehensive approach, and the NRA proposal needs to go beyond just arming more people with more guns to make this happen," Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, said Friday in a post on his Facebook page.

Thompson, who is heading a congressional task force on gun violence, called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The solution, he said, must also involve improving background checks on people buying firearms, enhancing mental health services and "addressing our culture's glorification of violence."

Attorney General Kamala Harris decried "reckless calls to saturate our schools with guns" instead of efforts to remove guns from the hands of dangerous people.

California Senate leader Darrel Steinberg called the NRA's proposal to "militarize" schools "profitable fear mongering."

"What's next? Armed guards at Starbucks and Little League games? This is completely the wrong direction," Steinberg said in a statement.

Santa Rosa Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm also said there needs to be a different approach to the problem.

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