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Gun-Control Group Says NRA School Safety Grant Program Has Fizzled

At a news conference after a gunman shot and killed 26 people – 20 of them children – in Newtown, Ct., the National Rifle Association promised to protect schoolchildren with money, guns and gear. CEO Wayne LaPierre blamed gun-free zones for the 2012 massacre and those before it. He called schools “utterly defenseless,” vulnerable to attacks by “monsters and predators.” A decade after LaPierre pledged the NRA’s support for its School Shield initiative, gun violence prevention groups say evidence shows the organization paid pennies on the dollar and the program has not made a dent in school violence. The gun-control group Everytown says most of the money has gone to non-firearm-related expenses such as intercoms, fences and film to make windows bullet resistant.


Everytown says dozens of grants around the nation collectively amounted to about $2 million, often coming in far under what districts requested. The total is far less than what the gun rights group has spent on other initiatives, including $130 million in legal fees from 2014 to 2020. The NRA awarded three school grants between 2014 and 2017, about $189,000. Spending increased after the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fl. The program has been largely dormant since 2020 and the School Shield office was furloughed amid financial turmoil at the NRA. In August, the organization announced it would again be accepting grant applications. An NRA spokeswoman said the program has contributed to the training of hundreds of law enforcement and school resource officers across 29 states. She said School Shield "promotes school security and highlights the need to protect children, our most valuable resource.” Josh Powell, former LaPierre chief of staff, said he warned LaPierre that a tv reporter would "dismember" him over the small number of school safety grants.

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