A Georgia school district is contemplating stocking local schools with assault-type rifles to help guard against a possible attack.
The Gainesville, Ga., Times says that under a proposed plan
, a Colt 6920 M4 carbine would be secured in a safe at three campuses. Only the school resource officer would have access to the safe, which could only be opened by fingerprint recognitions, Lt. Jay Parrish told the paper.
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The Gainesville Police Department, prompted by the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that left 26 people dead, approached the district with the idea in April, the Times said.
Resource officers are currently armed with handguns, but their effectiveness is limited.
Police Chief Brian Kelly was quoted by the Times as saying the rifle would be able to engage targets from much longer distances than the officers’ handguns. He added that the rifles would be locked in the resource officers’ vehicles when school is not in session.
“It’s something that’s important in our community and our schools,” Gainesville High School teacher Bryant Tench told the Gainesville Times. “We just want to make sure everyone is safe.”
School officials met with parents and teachers about the idea on Monday. The school board could vote on the issue later this month.
Some 34,000 people call Gainesville home, and it serves as the seat of Hall County. The school district includes eight campuses, including Gainesville High School.
The district is the latest to consider bolstering security in wake of recent school shootings. A small school system in Clarkesville, Ark., for example, recently opted to arm 20 teachers and staff starting this fall. The Christian Science Monitor reported that staff volunteering for armed duty
will be given a one-time, $1,100 stipend to buy a gun and a holster.
So far this year, seven states have passed bills allowing teachers or other school staff to carry guns on campus.
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