nbcnews.com / By By Miranda Leitsinger, NBC News / December 28, 2012
Arizona sheriffs and the state’s attorney general are pushing controversial programs to allow school officials and volunteers to carry guns in the wake of the shootings at a Connecticut school that left 20 children dead.
The latest proposal comes from Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the self-described toughest sheriff in America, who wants to station his “posse” of volunteers outside of about 50 schools in Maricopa County within a week, according to KPNX, a local NBC station.
“Everybody else is talking about what their ideas are. They want new laws. This is immediate. I don’t need a new law to send out my posse,” he told NBC affiliate, KPNX, on Thursday. “I feel like we should do whatever we can outside of the schools.”
Arpaio’s volunteers number about 3,000, with 300 to 400 carrying weapons. They log about 100 hours of training and undergo background checks, just like deputies, according to KPNX.
He first sent out his posse in 1993 to guard malls over the holiday season because of violence at those venues in the past. He believed that program worked, saying there have been zero violent re-occurrences, azfamily.com reported.
Arpaio’s plan follows similar ones released earlier this week: Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has proposed arming willing principals, according to ABC15.com, while Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said he wanted to arm a designated employee in every school, KPNX reported.
“Why not use these people we trust if they are willing to protect themselves and our children?” Babeu said.