About the Show

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

We've moved! Come join us at our new show page.

We've moved! Come join us at our new show page.

August 21st, 2013
10:12 PM ET

Crossfire preview: Should teachers be armed?

One brave bookkeeper near Atlanta potentially saved a school full of children from what could have been an all-too familiar nightmare.

Suspected shooter Michael Brandon Hill was allegedly armed with an AK-47 and off his medication when he entered Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy.

Antoinette Tuff was not armed in the literal sense but she had a weapon of her own – her words.

"He said that no one loved him and I told him that I loved him and that he was going be okay, that we were going get out safely,” Tuff told ABC. “Then I told him that if he would just go ahead and surrender, since he hadn't hurt anyone, I would stay there with him until they came to get him."

Tuff helped the suspect unpack his extra ammunition and put down his weapon.

She's a hero.

Still, the question remains: should Tuff, and school faculty members like her across the country have the right to be armed with more than her wits?

Super-intendant Dr. David Hopkins in Clarksville, Arkansas wanted to provide teachers with the option to carry handguns. Interested faculty members were trained but a panel blocked them from bringing guns into Clarksville schools.

“There is a constitutional right to bear arms,” said S.E. Cupp, co-host of CNN's Crossfire. Schools are “an arbitrary sort of geographic gun free zone that actually ends up putting people in danger.”

“I am not for schools arming teachers against their will, forcing school administrators to use guns if they don’t want to,” S.E. Cupp explained. “But if a local school has decided that this is how we want to train teachers and deal with the very rare case of a mass shooting at a school, it should be up to that jurisdiction.”

Of course not everyone is in agreement.

“I don’t understand why we’re now wanting to talk about these kind of exotic ideas of arming teachers and that kind of stuff when we still haven’t done what the law enforcement community is saying, which is to tighten up the background checks,” said Van Jones, also co-host of CNN’s Crossfire. “The problem we have right now, we don’t know how this guy got a gun but what we do know is he’s a convicted felon and shouldn’t have had one.”

The question on the effectiveness of background checks is a debate all its own.

“Criminals do not submit to background checks,” said an animated Cupp. “It is a fallacy that you expect a criminal to walk into a gun store and say ‘Here’s my information and when I commit this crime here’s where you can find me’…it’s delusional.”

According to Jones there are several statistics to support background checks. He said of the 14 states with background checks there are 39% fewer women killed by their partners and 39% fewer police officers killed by handguns.

The question of ammunition also proves to be divisive.

According to police, Hill had 500 rounds of ammunition on him. Some people who support greater restrictions on gun ownership point to this as an example for necessary ammunition restrictions.

S.E. Cupp says the amount of ammunition is arbitrary and dependent on the skill of the shooter.

“If you’re a proficient shooter you’re going to try and get off as many rounds as you can. Shouldn’t we be trying to prevent one death, not one plus 10?” she said.

Cupp instead suggested focusing more on mental health fixes.

“We all can agree that we need more mental health,” Jones said.

Improvements to mental health was in fact the one thing Jones and Cupp agreed on.

Crossfire premiers September 16 at 6:30 PM/EST.

soundoff (No Responses)

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.