A North Carolina sheriff says school resource officers should be armed with assault rifles on campus in addition to their handguns. In response, advocates against gun violence called the idea “absolute insanity”, according to The Guardian. Buddy Harwood, Madison County sheriff, believes the move is necessary to prevent another massacre like the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX. A report by WLOS News claimed Harwood received “mostly positive feedback” from the public for his stance, which will see military-style weapons locked in undisclosed locations in each of the county’s three elementary, one middle and two high schools. Critics accused the sheriff of using the safety of students to play to the interests of the gun lobby. “I think it is absolute insanity. This won’t save a single child, or stop a single unknown and potential future act of violence,” said Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was among 17 killed in Parkland, Fl, in February 2018.
Debate about the most effective manner to combat school shootings has been heard nationally, with different sides focusing on increasing campus security or on weapon control. Recent school safety measures have focused on elements including mental health and security enhancements rather than restricting access to firearms. Gun control advocates favor stronger gun laws and not increasingly weaponizing campuses. “The rise of school shootings across the country should concern us all, but arming school resource officers with AR-15s will only make our children less safe,” said Kris Brown, president of the gun control group Brady. In June, President Biden signed a package of gun reform measures that included tighter background checks and strengthening “red flag” laws to remove weapons from those judged to be dangerous. It fell short of his wish to ban public access to assault weapons. Activists blame politicians’ reluctance to act for provoking Harwood to place assault-style weapons closer to students.