North Carolina County Stocking Schools With AR-15s

Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Gretchen Clayson Contributor
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North Carolina’s Madison County is collaborating with the local sheriff’s office to place AR-15 rifles in emergency safes in each of their schools as part of an effort to enhance security in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting.

After police failed to act for over an hour in Uvalde, Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood told the Asheville Citizen Times that he wanted to make sure his deputies “are prepared” in the event of a school shooting in his county. “We were able to put an AR-15 rifle and safe in all of our schools in the county. We’ve also got breaching tools to go into those safes. We’ve got extra magazines with ammo in those safes,” Harwood said. (RELATED: Video Shows Heavily Armed Officers Waiting Over An Hour In The Hallway As Uvalde Shooter Murdered Teachers And Kids)

Harwood says the breaching tools would be used if someone were to barricade a door during a shooting. “We won’t have to wait on the fire department to get there,” he explained. “We’ll have those tools to be able to breach that door if needed. I do not want to have to run back out to the car to grab an AR, because that’s time lost. Hopefully we’ll never need it, but I want my guys to be as prepared as prepared can be.”


Madison County Schools Superintendent Will Hoffman has been in regular contact with Harwood and the rest of the police department about school security, according to the Asheville Citizen Times.  The administration has worked with the county to ensure law enforcement can monitor school surveillance systems and has also met with the school attorney to get briefed on Title IX – sexual harassment and discrimination – as well as enhanced supervision and other safety procedures, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Sen. Ted Cruz Introduces Legislation To Redirect Unspent COVID-Relief Funds To School Security)

Madison County’s school resource officers have also been training with instructors from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Harwood said.

Not everyone is on board with the county’s decision.

“What’s going to happen is we’re going to have accidents with these guns. Just the presence of an SRO [student resource officer] increases violence in the schools. There’s more arrests of kids. Why is it that they have to have these AR-15s? It doesn’t make any sense,” Dr. Dorothy Espelage, a University of North Carolina Chapel Hill professor told ABC13 News.

A Madison County resident told the outlet she had “mixed opinions” over the issue. “I would prefer to have the children safe, but then anyone, you don’t know, could get hold of an AR-15. Locks can be broken.”

Harwood acknowledged that while some might have an issue with AR-15s being located in schools, his aim was to keep the schools and the children within them safer. “I hate that we’ve come to a place in our nation where I’ve got to put a safe in our schools, and lock that safe up for my deputies to be able to acquire an AR-15. But, we can shut it off and say it won’t happen in Madison County, but we never know,” Harwood told The Hill.

“I want the parents of Madison County to know we’re going to take every measure necessary to ensure our kids are safe in this school system. If my parents, as a whole, want me to stand at that door with that AR strapped around that officer’s neck, then I’m going to do whatever my parents want as a whole to keep our kids safe,” Harwood concluded.