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MA Firearm Instructors: Protect Schools With Guns, Legalize Assault Rifles

Friday, January 04, 2013


Basic firearms instructors in Massachusetts are overwhelmingly in favor of placing armed guards or teachers in schools and the statewide legalization of assault rifles.

GoLocalWorcester asked 16 registered firearms instructors in Worcester County questions concerning gun safety and regulation. Respondents spoke on cartridge limits in magazines, assault rifle legality, the possibility of armed guards or teachers in schools and the role that mental health should play in the purchase of firearms.

Of the instructors polled, 87.5% reported they would like to see armed guards, teachers, or both in schools. In addition, 75% of the respondents said they were against the outlawing of assault rifles, as defined by the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, in Massachusetts.

To Arm or Not to Arm

In the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that left 26 dead, head of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre called for the placement of armed guards in schools. He asserted that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Firearms instructors in Massachusetts seem to agree.

Of the respondents, 44% said they would like to see armed guards in schools, 19% would like to see armed teachers, and 25% said they would like to see both. However, all instructors who said they would like teachers to carry firearms stipulated that only if the teachers felt comfortable doing so and received adequate training.

“The way things are in the world today, a trained guard inside the school is probably needed,” said an East Brookfield instructor who asked not to be named. “We need to protect our most prized possessions, our kids. If the President and members of Congress have armed security, why shouldn’t we have it in our schools?”

Only two respondents said they would hesitate to place armed adults in schools.

“It would have to be a last resort,” said Dan George, registered in Sutton. “It would have to be something everyone agreed upon. Personally I’d like to see pro-active approaches rather than reactive.”

The Battle Over Assault Rifles

Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

The majority of firearms instructors surveyed expressed disappointment in the term “assault rife” as defined by the Federal government, arguing that the term has become politicized.

“’Assault rifle’ is a bad term,” said Steven Tamburri, a Basic Firearms Instructor registered in Brookfield. “They shouldn’t be banned. As a sportsman, I like target shooting and there is a place for that with these guns. Some people shouldn’t have them, and keeping them out of the wrong hands should be properly looked into.”

Others expressed disappointment that law-abiding gun owners are being blamed for the action of a troubled few.

“They should be legal,” said Matthew Lichtenstein, an instructor registered in Leominster. “Assault weapons aren’t the bad guys here, it’s the people behind them that are the issue.”

Several instructors also pointed out that it’s unlikely for assault weapons to become legalized in Massachusetts due to the political climate.

Two respondents said they think assault rifles should remain illegal while another two said the question should be left for legislators and voters to decide.

Mental Health An Issue

Nearly all Massachusetts firearms instructors surveyed say mental health history needs to play a significant role in determining whether or not an individual is fit to carry a gun. Most agreed that states and towns need to do their due diligence in assessing one’s background and mental state before issuing a gun permit.

“Background checks are paramount,” said Michael Cravedi, registered in Sterling. “You should have to demonstrate ability and common sense to be given this privilege.”

But where to draw the line is a trickier issue. Alison Pickwick, of Clinton, says if people who seek mental health help are concerned about having their weapons taken, they may be reluctant to receive the treatment they need. Other situations, like soldiers returning from battle, also need to be considered.

“It’s a tough question,” said Joseph Warren, registered in Oxford. “Veterans come home with PTSD, should their rights to bear arms be taken away? Should we also take away their rights to vote? Mental health right now is too broad to define.”

The Trouble With Magazine Capacity

Massachusetts is one of six states that have banned large capacity ammunition magazines, outlawing all magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition. While 31% of firearms instructors said there should be no limit, 25% said they have no objections to the current limit.

Many respondents argued that individuals who are skilled with guns are able to change magazines extremely quickly, therefore making the number of cartridges per magazine less important. The answer, they say, lies elsewhere.

“If you ban a high capacity magazine, someone is going to buy whatever the highest capacity available is and you’re going to get the same results,” said Tamburri. “The more important thing to focus on is keeping guns out the wrong hands.”

Others echoed similar sentiments.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” said Warren. “If you’re proficient with the weapon, it really doesn’t matter. The real problem is that there are absolutely evil people out there.”


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Stephen Quist

I am not a gun owner and I absolutely agree we need to secure our schools and finally acknowledge the serious mental health issues that some people are suffering from.
To ignore the mental health issues most of these deranged shooters seem to be inflicted with is absolutely disgusting.

Iron Mike Farquhar

Given the number of dangerously mentally ill persons the 'Special Needs Industry' continues to mainstream across the land – undefended targets like schools, theaters, malls, and churches are all inviting targets when one decides to become a spree killer.

But liberals and gun phobics will continue to blame metal and plastic for the actions of insane people. In almost every conversation some run retard will spout the now too-familiar cliché: “Oh look at the NRA – their answer to gun violence is more guns”.

EXACTLY! If you want your kids to be SAFE – be prepared to guard them with someone trained to use instant and deadly force. These MUST NOT become EEO/AA jobs. If the guard cannot RUN the length of the school – and still get off a tight shot group – they are UNQUALIFIED.

Sadly I fear it will take a Sandy Hook copy-cat – some deranged evil person trying to out-kill Lanza – before liberals grasp the truth and the reality of the situation. 'Guns' are not the issue; - in Japan and China spree killers use knives

Stephen Jacoby

Why should we be surprised that the majority of those who profit from people owning guns are against regulating them? It's a flawed poll generating a meaningless result.

Stephen Jacoby

The problem isn't guns, it's the easy access to them. Here's my solution. It's not perfect, but it's the best I've got.

1. Spend $25 billion in federal money (less than a drop in the bucket of our budget) to create a secure (bulletproof w/ a metal detector) entrance to every single school in the country. There are about 100,000 schools in the U.S., making the budget for locking down each one $250,000 - more than enough. (And we only have to spend that money once.)

2. Spend $5 billion to fund trained, armed security staff at every school. Not teachers, not principals, but paid professional security guards with concealed weapons roaming the hallways every single minute the schools are open. They would be the school's equivalent of an airline sky marshal. No uniform (so a gunman can't target them specifically) and the kids wouldn't even have to know who/what they were. I'm figuring paying them $50/hour for a 50 hour week for 9 months of the year, with about half the money left over to pay for periodic training and psychological testing. (We would have to spend this every year.)

(NOTE: The $30 billion proposed above wouldn't even amount to 1/3 of the purely discretionary budget the federal government has left over after paying for absolutely everything else, including Social Security, Medicare, Defense, interest on the debt, and every single program and department we have. And, $25 billion of that is a one-time expenditure, not an annual expense. If funding it ever becomes an issue, have it paid for by adding a tax to the sale of all guns.)

3. We have mandatory minimum sentences for a lot of stupid things that don't deserve them, but we should make it a mandatory sentence of life in prison for anyone entering school property with a firearm. Set foot on the schoolyard with a gun, you're going to jail for life - period.

4. Same with using a gun to commit a crime. If you use a gun (or even just have one in your back pocket at the time) when you commit a crime - straight to jail for life.

5. Make it a federal law requiring every NEW gun sold in the U.S. to have a biometric trigger, making it impossible for anyone but the registered owner to fire it. If we can put them on laptop computers without making them more expensive, we can certainly put them on guns.

6. Make large capacity magazines illegal. No law abiding citizen needs more than 5-6 rounds in one magazine.

Any problems with this plan?

Edward Saucier

Evidentially the MA firearms instructors are really stupid or completely insane. They definitely don't know how to adapt, innovate and overcome.

Harry Huckum

If we enforced the laws we already have about mandatory sentencing we wouldn't need or have liberal dumb asses commenting on the need for new laws. We already have a 2.5 mandatory sentencing law but they don't enforce it.

Look at today's T&G you stupid freaking liberals: PROBATION for shooting at a LL field with tons of people around. NICE!

WORCESTER — A city man charged with firing shots near a Little League field on Grafton Hill has been sentenced to jail after being convicted of carrying a firearm without a license.

Kevin Jones, 19, of 22 Oakview St., was sentenced in Worcester Superior Court today to 2 1/2 years in the House of Correction with 2 years to be served. Judge Richard T. Tucker suspended the balance of the sentence for 2 years with probation.


Iron Mike Farquhar

Calm down Harry, - Mass Libtards don't believe prison does anything for 'the poor criminal'. They believe in 'rehabilitation'. AND, they think 'guns' commit crimes....

So sex offenders, murders, rapists, and armed robbers are routinely given minimal sentences, - and then early parole. Thus Woburn cop Jack Maguire – just weeks from retirement – was shot by career criminal Dominic Cinelli – who had been paroled from 3 LIFE sentences – including having shot a security guard.

PLEASE NOTE LIBTARDS, Cinelli didn't use a 'fully automatic military-style assault rifle with large-capacity magazine'. Maguire could have used one that snowy night though...

Libtards TALK about 'protecting kids' – but allow child sex offenders out to work among the population, so John Burbine was working in a DAY CARE CENTER.

Libtards FULLY support abortion, which kills 3,300 kids per DAY in the US, - [because...women have more rights than babies?]

Libtards TALK about 'protecting kids' – then approved the public sale of 'medical marijuana'.

Libtards have ALL the ANSWERS; - if it isn't BUSH'S FAULT, - it's the GUNS!

Stephen Jacoby

There goes Mikey the Moron spewing his hate again. Why don't you crawl back under the rock you slimy turd.

Stephen Jacoby

If you had a clue about the Liberal/Progressive agenda instead of vomiting the same talking points you hear on the radio, you might get a little respect around here. Do we really have to start taking isolated instances of evil and attribute all of them to liberals? What a crock.

Lagoona Blue

You're all fairly stupid, just so you know.

I have small children. I want them to be safe, always. The school solution? Lock the doors. Do not let unauthorized people in the door. I do not want a trained, armed guard in my kids' school. While, surely, that would protect them – I don't think it's an appropriate answer. Children shouldn't fear the world around them, even if it's scary sometimes.

The gun issue, as a whole, is ridiculous. If a mentally deranged person wants a gun, it does not matter how many regulations you put in place – he will find one, and he will hurt people. The suggested regulations effect the law-abiding citizens, those who want guns for sport, or to protect themselves, their families, and their homes. We have a constitution for a reason – it is to protect the citizens from tyranny. Government tyranny. Take away the guns? They have more control of you than they already do. Open your eyes.

All I hear in this whole ridiculous conversation/argument/whatever-you-call-this is “more laws” “more regulations” “more spending” “lock more people in cages for LIFE” - you're all so naiive. We need less of all of these things. Much, much less of it. Open your eyes.

This liberal/conservative hatred is out of control, I might add. This is a HUGE part of why America's such a mess. We all have a right to our own opinions, thoughts, and ideas – and you are grown men arguing like children on the playground.

And Iron Mike, my friend, I know you! Very well – your incognito name is transparent. =]

I must say, your comment on abortion was enraging. The point of the abortion debate is this: no one has any right to tell me what to do with MY body. I don't give a shit who you are. My body, my choices.

Medical marijuana? Really? Hey, you, cancer patient – go suffer for the next few years in excruciating pain and discomfort because someone might abuse your medicine. But, it's totally okay to pay the pharmaceutical companies trillions to pump everyone's body full of chemicals. No worries.

Wake up, guys. Use the brains in your heads.

Good day.

Lagoona Blue

Not sure how many more times I could have possibly said "open your eyes" there... but you got the point. =]

Stephen Jacoby

@Laguna Blue - I agree that we don't want armed guards in schools, but what alternative do we have? The shooting in Newtown was accomplished by breaking through a window of a locked door. I agree we don't want uniformed guards (although most urban schools have them) and that is why I used the "sky marshall" analogy. Non-uniformed guards in civilian clothes with concealed weapons. I have no desire to traumatize a kid by having uniformed guards toting AK-47s around the school. Have them work undercover as the janitor, the lunch lady, or any other position in the school, but have them trained to be ready at a moment's notice to stop a tragedy from occurring.

As for your other points, I agree completely.

Iron Mike Farquhar

TO: Lagoona Blue

>> And Iron Mike, my friend, I know you!
>> Very well – your incognito name is transparent.

WHAT 'incognito name'? That's my REAL name.

>> your comment on abortion was enraging
Oh, I truly HOPE so. You consider YOUR life more important than the lives of your unborn children?

If you don't want to become pregnant – don't have sex. But don't tell us that 'you care about kids' safety' if you've ever had an abortion, - because clearly you don't, - and you proved it.

You admit to having small children. Have you thought about how you'll answer them – when as teenagers they come one day and ask “Mom, - did I ever have a brother or sister that you aborted?”

>> The school solution? Lock the doors.

Before shooting your mouth off, suggest you research how many school shooting were done – BY STUDENTS, - and how many occurred in the schoolyards and parking lots. Locked doors and school lockdowns are only PART of the solution – as demonstrated in Taft, Calif yesterday.

Lagoona Blue

Stephen, I'll admit I didn't even read your whole outline the first time. All I saw was "spend this" and "spend that."

I'll say that it's a decent idea, but I must say this: the funds for paper and books cannot even be scraped up for our schools - all that money you mentioned? It will NEVER go towards the schools and our children. Being realistic here. It's disgusting, but truthful.

Stephen Jacoby

Lagoona Blue - I agree that it's a truly disgusting (and beyond discouraging) situation when the federal government spends more on subsidizing already wildly profitable companies like Exxon-Mobil and to bail out banks that turn around and sue us for doing so because they didn't like the terms. This country has its priorities completely twisted. I blame greedy politicians who care more about their ego being stroked than they do about doing the job they were elected to do. I also blame the lobbying system that has warped their sense of right and wrong. Yet another argument for term limits.

Stephen Jacoby

....and campaign finance reform!

Lagoona Blue

Iron Mike, this is not a debate about abortion. It's fine to have your feelings on the matter, but it ends with the fact that YOU will never be faced with a pregnancy, so YOU don't get to decide. It's wonderful to say "don't have sex if you don't want a baby" - but the world doesn't work like that. There is rape, there is the poor judgment of very young teens (children!), there are pregnancies that are life threatening to both mom and "baby." The truth is, I would not EVER consider abortion unless it were under dire circumstances - I've not ever had one, and I'm disgusted by the idea of using it as birth control. But, not my body - I have no say. I only have say about my own.

As for the shootings done by students – the prevention of this is on parents, teachers, administrators, communities, etc. If you look at many, many mass shootings committed by students, these kids are “different,” they're often socially and psychologically handicapped. They're bullied relentlessly (Columbine?). Where are there parents? Where are all the people who are supposed to notice? It's up to adults to guide these kids, teach them how to be good, functioning people, and get them the help they need. What kind of parent doesn't notice that their kid is planning something like that? I don't know – I just don't feel like more laws, regulation, and brutes with guns controlling us all is the answer.

@Stephen Jacoby - Agreed!

Iron Mike Farquhar

@ Lagoona Blue: You do rant on a bit. Ever thought of...taking a breath?

Klebold and Harris weren't 'bullied'. They self-isolated.

If you want to take a HARD LOOK at spree killings...start looking at the dirty secrets of the 'Special Needs Industry'.

They are a bigger lobby than the NRA.

They have been working for decades to 'mainstream' special needs kids – both Down syndrome kids and the various kinds of damaged and disturbed. MANY of the 'disturbed' are treated with anti-psychotic drugs – which have side effects.

Many of these kids stop taking their drugs when they become teenagers and young adults... Many of the spree killers were coming OFF their drugs....

BUT, under the guise / cloak of 'Patient Privacy' the schools aren't told what kids have been diagnosed as DANGEROUSLY DELUSIONAL – so schools are always caught off guard.

EVEN AFTER spree killings, we are NOT TOLD about their medical conditions – so we are left to flail about and make comments on line – WITHOUT the FACTS.

My anger at gun-grabbing liberals – like Obama-Biden – is that they IGNORE the OBVIOUS – and blame the GUNS! There IS a reason they want our guns – and it has NOTHING to do with 'saving kids'. They HELP KILL 3,300 kids PER DAY!

Stephen Jacoby

And Mikey the Moron proves himself to be the psychotic ass once again. If it doesn't fit into his delusional view of the world (you know... the one he gets from listening only to the voices he hears on radio talk shows) it MUST be a liberal communist plot.


Lagoona Blue

Iron Mike, I actually agree with you on the medication ideas, AND on the reason they want to take our guns. Hm.

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