(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., proposed using National Guard troops to help make schools across the nation safer and avoid another shooting like last week at Sandy Hook.
“Three hundred million weapons are out there, nothing I know is going to change that. And in the meantime we better — we darn better — keep our kids safe,” Sen. Boxer said at a press conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday. “And if we avoid looking at that question I think we are failing.”
The Save Our Schools Act (SOS) would allow the federal government to reimburse Governors who want to use National Guard troops in schools and is modeled after the National Guard program that allows governors to use the Guard to assist with law enforcement efforts related to drug interdiction activities.
“So we take a successful program and we say we’re going to add a new purpose,” Boxer said. “National guard troops could be used to help support local law enforcement agencies in protecting our children at schools.”
Under the new program, Guard troops could work with law enforcement agencies to ensure schools are safe. This could take the form of additional guards at school, strengthening the perimeter security of the school or relieving local law enforcement officials who have desk jobs.
“I feel very strongly that this is an appropriate use of our national guard,” Boxer said Wednesday. “The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary is a reminder that we have failed our children.”
Governors already have the power to use the Guard on their own currently, but they’d have to pay for it under already-squeezed state budgets. Under Boxer’s legislation governors could apply and have 100 percent of their plan paid though by federal funds already set up by the drug interdiction program.
Boxer said she has not had a conversation with any other senators about this proposal but will be working to get support before the next session of Congress. She plans to speak with Vice President Biden, who will lead the charge on this issue, about her proposal soon.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Joshua Berlinger, CNN
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Deirdre Walsh and Eugene Scott, CNN