Chris Christie opposes armed guards in schools

December 21, 2012

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has come out against posting armed guards in schools, telling reporters Friday that it would not make students safer.

Armed guards would not be effective, he said during an event in Newark, as reported by the Bergen Record, unless they were in every classroom. “Because if you just have an armed guard at the front door then what if this guy had gone around to the side door? There’s many doors in and out of schools.”

He added that there would be significant drawbacks to such a system. 

“You don’t want to make this an armed camp for kids,” Christie said. “I don’t think that’s a positive example for children. We should be able to figure out other ways to enhance safety.”

The governor was responding to a question about National Rifle Association President Wayne LaPierre's press conference Friday morning, in which the gun lobby leader called for the armed guards to protect students. But Christie did not directly criticize LaPierre, saying he had not seen or heard the press conference. 

Christie has long been advocate of various gun control measures, including an assault weapons ban. He did not return a survey from the NRA in 2011; the group told the Wall Street Journal at the time that "we rate him as a question mark."

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) also objected to armed guards in schools, though not because he supports more restrictions on guns. "It's fixing the wrong problem, because the problem is cultural," he told reporters on Capitol Hill. Coburn has an A rating from the NRA. He said he too had not seen LaPierre speak. 

Many Democrats have criticized LaPierre's words; Sen.-elect Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called the speech "revolting." But Republicans have largely stayed silent. 

Ed O'Keefe contributed to this report.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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