Pepper Spray CEO Brings School Safety, 'Nonlethal' Product Pitch To Capitol Hill
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“I’m not saying we shouldn’t be looking at other strategies,” McCann said, “but [pepper spray] should be part” of a comprehensive school safety plan. Lawmakers have fiercely debated how best to secure the nation’s schools in response to the Newtown shooting, where a gunman murdered 20 young children and six adults at an elementary school. In response, the National Rifle Association proposed putting an armed police force in every school.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. In January, at least two members introduced legislation that would strike parts of the Gun-Free School Zones Act that make it illegal to “possess or discharge a firearm in a school zone,” as part of an overall movement to train and arm school officials.
Several states already allow administrators and teachers to carry a registered gun with permission from principals, superintendents or other authorities, a loophole provided in that law. President Obama looked to increase security as well, putting $230 million in grants for “improving school security” on his list of executive actions for gun control reforms. In addition to hiring more school counselors to tackle the behavioral or mental causes of violence, Obama sought to extend a Justice Department grant program aimed at hiring law enforcement officials to guard schools.
The White House also suggested that school districts could spend federal money on creating emergency plans and “purchase school safety equipment” — and that’s where Mace comes in. “It’s easy to implement, easy to train people on and very cost-effective,” McCann said of his company’s products, adding that the members and staff he met with seemed very receptive to the idea of rolling out nonlethal solutions to violence. “It was what they wanted to hear.”