The threat of an "active shooter" isn't justification for arming school personnel, the Obama administration said Tuesday, even as it acknowledged the possible benefit of physically confronting a gunman on campus.
The recommendations are part of a report on school emergency preparedness that comes more than six months after the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
"If neither running nor hiding is a safe option, as a last resort when confronted by the shooter, adults in immediate danger should consider trying to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter by using aggressive force and items in their environment, such as fire extinguishers, and chairs," the report said. "The possibility of an active shooter situation is not justification for the presence of firearms on campus in the hands of any personnel other than law enforcement officers."
School shootings have prompted some gun rights advocates to push for more guns in schools. In a press conference one week after Newtown, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre famously said that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
Education Secretary Arne Duncan has called such proposals little more than "an opportunity to sell more guns."
The Obama administration has previously said that the federal government would support schools that want armed guards and that it would provide incentives for police departments to train them.
Tuesday's report recommended that schools prepare for "active shooter" situations with drills, community training and psychological preparation. In the event of a shooter, the guidelines lay out three basic options: "You can run away from the shooter, seek a secure place where you can hide and/or deny the shooter access, or incapacitate the shooter to survive and protect others from harm."
People who otherwise might have been victims have thwarted 16 of 41 active shooters, the report said.