Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio wants to station a “posse” of armed volunteers outside of about 50 schools in Maricopa County within a week, according to KPNX, a local NBC station .Arpaio’s volunteer’s number about 3,000 with 300 to 400 carrying weapons. They log about 100 hours of training and undergo background checks, just like deputies.
“Everybody else is talking about what their idea’s are. They want new laws. This is immediate. I don’t need a new law to send out my posse,” Arpaio told KPNX on Thursday. “I feel like we should do whatever we can outside of the schools.”
He first sent out his posse in 1993 to guard malls over the holiday season because of violence at those venues in the past. He believed that program worked, saying there have been zero violent re-occurrences.
Similar plans have been proposed by other elected Arizona officials. Pine County Sheriff Paul Baben has proposed arming willing principals, while State Attorney General Tom Horne said he wanted to arm a designated employee in every school.
Horne said a few counties have indicated they’d like to sign up for his program, though state law currently prohibits having firearms on public school campuses. Horne said he already has a sponsor for the necessary legislation to implement his plan.
The Arizona stance echoed that of the National Rifle Association. The association’s chief, Wayne LaPierre, has said he supports putting armed guards and police in schools in response to the Newtown shootings in which the gunman shot and killed 6 administrators and 20 children.
“If it’s crazy for calling to putting police in and securing our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy,” LaPierre told NBC’s David Gregory. “I think the American people think its crazy not to do it. It’s the one thing that would keep people safe and the NRA is going to try to do that.”