Home Virginia Politics Gov. McDonnell: After Sandy Hook, There Should be a Discussion of Arming...

Gov. McDonnell: After Sandy Hook, There Should be a Discussion of Arming Teachers and Principals


The following is from Progress Virginia. Bottom line: Bob McDonnell is completely off the deep end, yet AGAIN disproving any pretense of being a "moderate." Wow.

P.S. McDonnell reminds me of Republican Keith Fimian, who lost an election (to Gerry Connolly in 2010) after saying publicly, "I think at Virginia Tech, if one of those kids in one of those classrooms was packing heat, I think it would not have happened." Apparently, that’s always the answer from Republicans: turn our schools into armed fortresses and prison camps. Great vision for a free society, huh?

P.P.S. Oh, and to make matters even worse, McDonnell also wants to slash funding for mental health services. Wow, can you come up with any WORSE a combination of proposed policies than the ones McDonnell’s proposing?

Governor McDonnell calls for consideration of arming teachers and principals

In response to questions about the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary on his "Ask the Governor" segment on WTOP Radio this morning, Governor Bob McDonnell suggested Virginia arm teachers, principals, and other school staff. Yesterday, when asked about the tragedy, the Governor said it was "way to early" to being talking about new gun policies. For audio of the exchange, click here

"One of the reasons this tragedy has hit us so hard is because in America we hold our schools sacred as safe places for learning, opportunity, growth," said ProgressVA Executive Director Anna Scholl. "There is just no reason for there to be guns in schools. Period. Instead of forcing our teachers to carry weapons and our children to live in fear every day, we should let them focus on teaching and learning and demand that our leaders worry about keeping dangerous weapons off the streets and out of the hands of criminals."

Contrary to assertions by the National Rifle Association and their allies, the evidence shows more guns equal more deaths and more tragedy. Nearly ninety percent of NRA members — actual gun owners — agree that support for Second Amendment rights goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. 34 Americans are murdered with guns every day. 

Our leaders have watched the bloodshed for years without taking any of the common sense steps that we know will reduce gun violence — requiring a criminal background check for every sale; banning military-style assault weapons and high-cap magazines; and making gun trafficking a federal crime. These are the kinds of steps Americans have been clamoring for leadership on, and this is what our leaders should do now. 

Federal law doesn't currently require a background check for private gun sales at places like gun shows or over the internet — which account for forty percent of sales. Eighty percent of inmates surveyed got their guns through private transfers.  According to law enforcement, closing this loophole is the single most important thing to do start saving lives. One quarter of gun crimes and one third of police murders involve high capacity magazines.  


ProgressVA is a multi-issue advocacy organization communicating progressive values across the Commonwealth. We engage citizens around issues of immediate state and local concern. www.ProgressVA.org 

  • Rep. Gerry Connolly reacts to Bob McDonnell’s comments this morning:

    “I am appalled at the Governor’s reaction to this tragedy.  When he talked about the principal and other administrators in the school lacking training in guns and not possessing guns on premises, a violation I might add of Connecticut law, he is, in fact, blaming the victims.  He’s actually implying that this heroic principal, who gave her life to protect her children in her care, was somehow inadequate, that she could have done more.  Shame on Governor McDonnell.  Ask yourself what could go wrong with that.  Can you imagine if there had been a shootout at Newtown?”

    “”Even the NRA hasn’t gone that far.  This is exactly what my far-right Republican opponent said two years ago about Virginia Tech, and he was rightfully and roundly condemned by the victims of that terrible tragedy.”

    “As for Governor McDonnell’s proposal to put police in schools, we have police officers, working as==as resource officers for crime, gang prevention and drug prevention in most Northern Virginia  middle schools and high schools. It’s not a new thought.  I would caution, however, that we want to be careful that we’re not making schools even more of a target and that we’re not making them armed camps, which apparently is the Governor’s intent.   He doesn’t just say let’s put police in there, he’s also saying let’s make sure every administrator, and apparently every teacher, should be trained and armed, and I think that would be a horrible road to go down.”

  • Quizzical

    As Gerry Connolly recognized, there are police officers as resources officers at Fairfax County high schools right now.  

    The problem isn’t just protecting children in schools, however. With the types of weapons used in Newtown, or Virginia Tech, there can be a mass murder anywhere adults or children are gathered in a place with no easy exit — a church, a movie theater, a train car, an airport terminal, an office suite, a hospital or medical clinic, a political town meeting, a library, a museum, and so forth.  Groups of children can be found at most of those places every day.

    There has to come a point where we agree that we cannot afford to have armed guards and monitored CCTV’s everywhere, watching everybody, nor do we want to live in a police state, and that it might be a smarter idea to have fewer assault weapons in circulation.

  • hereinva

    Heat packing teachers, custodians, librarians, health care workers ??? …sounds like the Governor forgot to tie his “thinking cap” on. The governor has taken a “supply side” approach to the problem…supply MORE people with firearms. I’m sure the gun mftrs would appreciate the boost in sales.

    And so when VA is pressed on school budgets for educational materials alone..he suggests arming teachers (at what cost) AND cutting funding for mental health programs. VA can do better than this.

  • Jim B

    Listening to Gov ultrasound come up with solutions for gun violence is a nonstarter. Maybe he has watched too many Clint Eastwood movies.

  • Senate Democrats Reject McDonnell’s Call to Arm Teachers

    RICHMOND, VA – Senate Democrats issued the following statement today in response to Governor Bob McDonnell’s call that we should consider arming school teachers and principals to prevent gun violence:

    Senator Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax), Democratic Leader, said, “And when that fails to stop this, what’s next? Arm the students? If teachers wanted to carry guns in order to do their day job, they would have become policemen.”

    Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico), Democratic Caucus Chair, said, “I am appalled. There are more guns in America than people, and yet we have one of the highest rates of gun violence in the world. The Governor should know better than to suggest that arming citizens will solve anything. Maybe the Governor should focus on solutions that could actually have an impact, like banning the high-capacity magazines used to inflict horrific violence upon countless American cities, from Aurora to Newton.”

  • Elaine in Roanoke

    As a retired teacher, I guarantee that teachers simply wish they could teach, spend their time and energy motivating all their kids to achieve the best they can. Instead, we serve as surrogate nurses because schools can’t afford to have school nurses any more. We serve as surrogate psychologists because support staff have been cut to the bone. We serve sometimes as surrogate parents,  but that’s O.K., part of the job, Now, McDonnell wants us to be the school’s police, also? Does he propose to send school staff to special police classes to learn gun operation, how to react instantaneously to danger without misreading the situation, etc., etc.? Absurd…

    In Arizona, there was a young man in the crowd who carried a concealed weapon. He did NOT fire against the shooter. Why? He didn’t want to harm some innocent bystanders, and he was a trained handler of weapons.

    I’m sick and tired of the old lie that if everybody was armed, we would be safer. That’s the stuff bulls leave on the pasture grass. And,  McDonnell is full of it…


  • kindler

    Gov.Bob just disqualified himself.  The attack ad writes itself…

  • ARLINGTON, VA – Today, Governor Bob McDonnell suggested that we should have a “reasonable discussion” about arming teachers in public schools as an answer to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. Aneesh Chopra, candidate for Lieutenant Governor, released the following statement in response to Governor McDonnell’s suggestion:

    As a father of a child that attends a Virginia public school, I could not disagree more with Governor McDonnell’s recent statement. There is nothing reasonable about suggesting that bringing guns onto school grounds is the answer. We should be having a conversation about how to make our children safer, not about ways to make them less safe.

    Let’s be clear about what the Governor is proposing – he is suggesting that the way to make schools safer is to allow more guns on school grounds.  As a parent, I strongly disagree that having guns anywhere near young children in our schools is a good or “reasonable” suggestion that would help improve public safety.

    Comments like these are divisive, backwards and do nothing other than serve as a distraction from the discussion we should be having about common sense gun laws that would actually improve the safety of our communities.

    Reasonable discussions related to this matter include: strengthening our mental health system, improving our background check system and reinstating the one gun a month law. The conversation Governor McDonnell seems to be encouraging is anything but reasonable.

  • I have son in Robinson Secondary.  (You might remember this school as the one that made the news just a few weeks ago as the one where a student brought a gun to school.)

    Every day, there is a police officer with a gun on school grounds.

    For those of you who don’t know Robinson, let me explain the layout.  It is a long campus — the main corridor is rumored to be a quarter of a mile from start to finish.  (I don’t know if that is true, but as it’s really freaking long!)  From the main corridor, there are various locker “bays” on one side, each with separate entrances.  There are also gymnasiums, concert halls, wings for foreign language classrooms, libraries, a theatre…..

    It’s ENORMOUS.  So we have a situation like CT — there is going to be massive damage done before anyone can do anything.  

    When we send our children out into the world, we do it knowing that something terrible might happen to them.  That’s the risk we take in having children.  It’s a fearsome and wonderful undertaking.  That’s reality, Governor.  Please try and live in it.

  • glennbear