Gainesville officials consider putting assault rifles in schools - CBS46 News

Gainesville officials consider putting assault rifles inside schools

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Gainesville police want three local schools to consider giving school resource officers quicker access to long-range rifles, in case of an emergency.

Jay Parrish, who helps train officers on how to use firearms for the Gainesville Police Department, said the guns are M4s and would only be placed in schools with school resource officers, and only when the officers were present. He said they would be kept secure in safes.

"The adversary has bigger, better weapons than what the officers carry in their day-to-day operations," Parrish said.

He said that most officers carry handguns that can only fire about 16 rounds, within about 75 yards. But, he said, having an M4 available could double the amount of rounds that an officer could fire, and nearly triple the distance.

"In some of these schools, we have 100 plus foot hallways," Parrish said. "A handgun is just not affective in that area, whereas a rifle would be."

If school governance boards approve the measure, schools including Gainesville High School, Gainesville Middle School and Woods Mill Academy could see the guns in their buildings, because they have school resource officers present. Those officers already have M4s, but store them in their cars outside.

"If we have an officer in the school and there is an intruder that needs to be addressed, we don't want that officer to leave the school because then he may not have access back in," Parrish said.

Gainesville Schools Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said some parents are concerned about how secure the guns will be inside of their safes.

"(People want) some assurance that they will be secured, just really more information," Dyer said.

Dyer added that the district has no intention of training school teachers and administrators on how to use the guns.

"What we've learned is that these things happen quickly and they happen unexpectedly and in places and locations where we can't anticipate," Dyer said.

The school governance boards will consider the measure in October, and, if approved, it could go into effect immediately.

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