Is stockpiling rifles in school offices a good idea? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Is stockpiling rifles in school offices a good idea?

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LEE COUNTY, GA (WALB) -

One north Georgia school system considers storing high-powered rifles in schools for emergencies.

Some south Georgia school officials say they're not comfortable with that.

Some leaders in Gainesville say the weapons school resource officers carry might not stop a school shooter.

They're talking about putting rifles in safes at some schools.

Dougherty and Lee County administrators say this idea is new to them, but they have serious concerns about whether it would be safe or effective. 

Lee County High School Resource Officer Sgt. Jason Anthony patrols the school halls. He is not in favor of Gainesville Schools idea of storing rifles in the school offices. One of his concerns is that scared school administrators might get those guns out for themselves in an emergency.

Sgt. Anthony said "that teacher is not trained properly on how to retain that weapon. And a kid grabbed it. Now you've got a weapon in a school in the hands of a child."

Dougherty County school resource officers also carry pistols on duty in the schools. Administrators say the idea of stockpiling weapons, even in safes, could pose a greater threat.

Dougherty County School Board Chairperson Carol Tharin said "And I would be concerned even though they would be put in a safe, you know safes can be broken into. That if they ever got out into the general public what the consequences might be."

Law enforcers say the latest training calls for officers to get into schools and confront an active shooter as soon as possible, to protect lives. Going to the office to unlock a safe, load and prepare a rifle, would slow that rapid response.

 Sgt. Anthony said "With normal service weapons we would probably make contact with that issue and get more units in route that has those long rifles. And take care of it that way."

Recent school shootings have administrators and law enforcement constantly thinking about new and better ways to protect the students and staff. But all of the school and law enforcement officials we talked to today said they did not like the idea of stockpiling rifles inside the schools.

Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul told us he also had concerns about rifles stored in schools. He said one concern was that bullets from high powered rifles can shoot through walls, limiting where and when you could use them.

The Gainesville City school board is expected to vote on this issue in October.

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