Medford, OR – Representative Dennis Richardson is receiving criticism for his response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The Oregon pol called the situation “preventable” and lamented the “heartbreaking failure” of school personnel. Furthermore, he opines that had he been armed and on the grounds, he could have stopped shooter Adam Lanza before any lives were lost.
Richardson wrote an email to three southern Oregon school superintendents, arguing that gun bans on school property should be overturned with haste, reports The Mail Tribune.
“If I had been a teacher or the principal at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and if the school district did not preclude me from having access to a firearm, either by concealed carry or locked in my desk, most of the murdered children would still be alive, and the gunman would still be dead, and not by suicide,” he wrote.
When contacted by phone for a follow-up, Richardson said that at least three officials in every school should be trained to use a firearm, reports The Times Union. “We need to ensure that our children are safe, and we can’t do that by disarming those who are on the scene,” Richardson said.
Medford police Chief Tim George disagreed with Richardson, saying: “Teachers don’t go into teaching to be police officers, they want to teach kids,” George said. “In crisis situations there are a lot of very complex things happening all at once and you have to constantly train for deadly force incidents.”
Medford schools Superintendent Phil Long, one of the recipients of Richardson’s email, said that teachers should instead focus on getting children to safety.
“I know (Richardson) is well-intentioned when he says this,” Long said. “But we can’t jump to conclusions immediately after a tragedy like this occurs.”
Last Friday, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six adults before taking his own life at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The days since have been a mix of mourning and calls to action, with the debate primarily focused on gun control, mental health access, or some combination of the two.