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An NRA Instructor Interview on the Newtown School Shooting
As opposed to past gun debates, gun control advocates are looking to bring the NRA into the solution. So I interviewed an NRA instructor to find out what members are thinking about in terms of solutions.
COMMENTARY | After the Newtown, Conn., shooting, the tone of the country has changed. Gun control advocates seeing the need to reach out to members of the NRA for a solution, as evidenced by recent comments by Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat. But what do some NRA members think about the shooting, and the response?
To learn about this, I interviewed one of my former students, who is currently a security officer at a southern college campus nearby. He's also an NRA instructor, and (as a political science minor) researching whether armed citizens have been able to stop spree shooters in the past. The interview took place just a day or two after the shooting, when the NRA was laying low publicly.
Me: Can you tell me about the National Rifle Association?
JW: For the NRA, 100 percent of all membership fees go to training programs and internal magazines. The NRA is also the largest training organization in the country.
Me: What about the NRA in the wake of the shooting, as an instructor?
JW: I am highly in favor of the willingly armed teacher or volunteer armed hallway monitor. Friday afternoon at work, we were discussing volunteering at local schools as resource officers on our off days for those schools which would be willing to have us.
Me: How would you avoid having someone like George Zimmerman, using his position as a community officer to take the law into his own hands, disregarding orders from law enforcement? Even Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that Zimmerman can't use "stand your ground laws" as a defense for what he did.
JW: Like everything, the issue is proper training and education. Carrying a firearm does not grant one the rights of a law enforcement officer. In the Zimmerman case, the proper procedure would be to follow the suspect at a safe distance and observe his actions and relay them to the police by phone until they arrive to handle the situation. Likewise, you cannot use force to simply protect property. If someone grabs a purse and runs away, you cannot shoot them, even though they have committed a crime in your presence.
Me: Thanks for your time, and good luck with your research.
JW: I'll let you know what I find.
John A. Tures is an associate professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga.