In the aftermath of the Newtown elementary school massacre, the leaders of the National Rifle Association took criticism for suggesting armed police officers belong at schools across the country.
On Friday, a Republican lawmaker plans to run with the idea and introduce a bill in the House of Representatives that would help turn the NRA’s proposal into reality.
“Congress cannot allow tragedies like Newtown to take place without taking action,” North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows said in a letter distributed to his colleagues and obtained by The Daily Caller. (RELATED: Top Obama strategist rips “delusional” NRA op-ed in TheDC)
The Protect America’s Schools Act — which the National Rifle Association supports — would require the government to spend $30 million a year to fund the Cops in Schools grant program.
Meadows is proposing offsetting this increase in government spending by taking $30 million in unspent funds from the budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“In light of the recent atrocities which have taken place, it is time for Congress to take action to assist our law enforcement in protecting future generations,” Meadows said. “We must find solutions that will directly prevent these incidents.”
The Cops in Schools grant program has not been funded since fiscal year 2005.
In his letter, Meadows cited a Gallup poll showing 53 percent of Americans believe increasing the police presence at schools would help preventing violence in schools.
Meadows is trying to present this bill as a “bipartisan, solutions-oriented approach” that both parties can get behind, and is working to attract both Republicans and Democrats as co-sponsors.
In order to attract Democrats, Meadows is pointing out how the program was first implemented while Bill Clinton was president and how anti-gun liberals like New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy have expressed support for such ideas in the past.
President Barack Obama has also expressed support for adding more police officers in schools.
Those who oppose adding more police officers to schools include the ACLU, the left of center civil liberties organization.
“Despite the president’s best intentions, funding more police officers in schools will turn sanctuaries for education into armed fortresses,” said Laura Murphy of the ACLU.