Mark Mattioli, whose six-year-old son, James, was killed during the Sandy Hook tragedy, recently appeared on video to applaud the National Rifle Association’s new plan to prevent gun violence in schools.
Mattioli adds to the sea of controvery surrounding the NRA’s School Shield, a 225-page report recommending that schools keep armed guards in schools. Mattiolo said of the plan, “I wanted to take a minute and applaud ... the NRA for coming up and spending the time and resources on putting a program like this together. We send our children off to school. There are certain expectations and obviously in Sandy Hook, those expectations were not met."
The nation has been divided over the gun control debate, and family members of the Sandy Hook victims are no different. Six days ago on the National Day to Demand Action, Mayors Against Illegal Guns released a video featuring parents of Sandy Hook victims calling for stricter gun control laws.
While these parents can all agree that something needs to be done, they don’t see eye-to-eye on how, exactly the federal government should step in. The NRA’s plan would fill schools with even more guns – some in the hands of trained guards, and some in the hands of teachers. Asa Hutchinson, a former Republican representative who presented the plan, said, “Teachers should teach, but if there is personnel who has good experience, has interest in it, and is willing to go through this training, … then that is an appropriate resource a school should be able to utilize.”
Opponents of School Shield call the plan prohibitively expensive. Bruce Hunter of the School Superintendents Association estimated that the plan could cost tax payers $5 billion per year. Other gun control advocates claim that teachers have no business firing weapons in public schools.
Will Mattioli’s support lend credibility to NRA’s cause, or will his voice be drowned out by other Sandy Hook parents who call for stricter gun control? Americans will have the answer as legislators prepare to vote on universal background checks and the UN-approved Arms Trade Treaty.