A controversial proposal by the National Rifle Association is generating heated--and divided--opinions from Minnesota's elected officials, educators and law enforcement officials. The organization suggested adding armed security at all U.S. schools.
The Pioneer Press reported that Tom Dooher, president of the teachers union Education Minnesota, wants the focus to be on more intensive mental health screenings and treatment. However, Dooher told MPR that if there is additional armed security in Minnesota schools, it should be provided by sworn officers, not teachers.
The Pioneer Press also quotes Dennis Flaherty, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association. He said police officers are in schools to serve as a resource and build relationships with students, not to serve as armed security. He said he opposes school officers being turned into "hired guns." Flaherty estimates adding an additional 2,400 officers for all Minnesota schools could cost the state $180 million a year.
MPR reported that Sen. Amy Klobuchar wants what she called "common sense" alternatives to the NRA plan. She supports renewing the ban on assault weapons and is open to exploring restrictions on high-capacity magazines. Sen. Al Franken said he has listened to hunters, mental health professionals and other stakeholders for their suggestions, including tightening rules that allow private gun sales without a background check.
Jeffrey Brun, whose brother was an unarmed guard killed in the mass shooting in 2005 at Red Lake High School, supports the idea of arming officers in schools. Brun told the Pioneer Press that his brother Derrick Brun, 28, might have been able to change the outcome if he had a gun. Brun was the first of seven people shot and killed by 16 year old Jeff Weise. Brun was the first of seven people Weise fatally shot at the school before killing himself.