4:20 pm Dec. 21, 2012
Going seriously against the grain of local reaction to the the National Rifle Association's proposal to put armed guards in every school in America, two New York City councilmen say the idea is worth considering.
Vinny Ignizio, who represents a district on the South Shore of Staten Island and is one of four Republicans on the 51-member Council, told me, "The proposal to train and arm NYPD school safety officers is a legitimate part of the discussion to enhance security in our schools along with the ongoing conversations about gun control and mental health reform. It all must be on the table, not just any one side or agenda."
Councilman Dan Halloran, a Republican from Bayside, said, through a spokesman, that securing schools was a necessary precaution, and that the proposal was "worth discussing."
"A gun-free school zone is the perfect environment for a disturbed person" who may seek minimal resistance, said the spokesman, Kevin Ryan, who also said that for a homicidal gunman, "an area like that, where people are defenseless, is an ideal place to be."
In an echo of the language used today by N.R.A. head Wayne LaPierre, Ryan said that if "a goodguy with a gun" had been at the school, "it would have been harder for the badguy to do what they did."
Ryan also said that Halloran considered improving access to mental health services, and information, an important part of any strategy to prevent gun violence.
Reacting earlier today to the N.R.A.'s proposal, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the group had offered "a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe."
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn called the N.R.A. proposal "asinine."
Chairman of the New York City Council's Public Safety Committee, Peter Vallone Jr., a Democrat from Astoria, also criticized N.R.A. When I asked him about their proposal, he told me, "Thanks for nothing. As Public Safety chair I don't need your advice on security. I need your help on keeping illegal guns out of ur city, but got none."
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