For Release: Friday, December 21, 2012
Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, and native of Newtown, Connecticut, issued the following statement today in response to the NRA’s call for more armed guards as the sole solution to school shootings in the United States:
“The NRA plan, which cynically allows for the continued sale of the assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines marketed by its gun industry corporate donors has already been tried, and it did not work. In fact there were TWO armed law enforcement agents present at Columbine High School during the assault by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold that left 15 dead and 23 wounded. They twice engaged and fired at Eric Harris in an effort to stop the shooting, but were unsuccessful because they were outgunned by the assault weapons wielded by the two teens.”
According to the transcript compiled by the Jefferson County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Office:
[Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Neil] Gardner [the school’s community resource officer], seeing Harris working with his gun, leaned over the top of the car and fired four shots. He was 60 yards from the gunman. Harris spun hard to the right and Gardner momentarily thought he had hit him. Seconds later, Harris began shooting again at the deputy. After the exchange of gunfire, Harris ran back into the building. Gardner was able to get on the police radio and called for assistance from other Sheriff’s units. “Shots in the building. I need someone in the south lot with me.”
Later, another officer fired back at Harris as the student shot out of a window. Again, according to the Sheriff Department’s transcript:
Harris, leaning out of a broken window on the set of double doors into the school, begins shooting a rifle. [Jefferson County Deputy Paul] Smoker fires three rounds at him and the gunman disappears from the window. Smoker continues to hear gunfire from inside the building as more students flee from the school.
Adds Sugarmann, “Now is the time to limit the increasingly lethal firepower available to civilians and halt the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The American people understand that–even if the NRA and the gun industry that helps fund it do not.”