Politics & Government

Paul advocates arming principals and teachers

FRANKFORT — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul promoted the idea of arming principals and teachers as an effective preventive measure to make schools safer, vowing Wednesday to fight any of President Barack Obama's executive actions that weaken constitutional gun rights.

The Kentucky Republican said he was horrified by the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school but said tough gun control measures haven't worked in U.S. cities still plagued by high crime and murder rates. He said he would resist efforts to chip away at the Second Amendment.

"It doesn't say you have the right to keep and bear arms that shoot five bullets and not six bullets," he told a civic group in Frankfort.

Paul said he didn't see the need to assign armed security guards to schools, an idea promoted by the National Rifle Association.

But Kentucky's junior senator defended the idea of allowing principals and teachers who have permits to carry concealed guns to bring those weapons to school.

"I'd feel safer if the principal at my school had concealed carry and had a gun in his drawer locked up," Paul said. "I'd feel safer if teachers had it, too."

Afterward, Paul said that schools would need to be comfortable with allowing staff to have quick access to guns. He said safety restrictions would be essential, including having the weapons locked up in schools.

He said that arming certain school staff could be a strong deterrent and provide a chance to thwart an attack.

Paul said that it probably was a state issue and that he didn't have plans to push for federal legislation to arm school staff.

He promised a strong push back, however, if he concludes that Obama overstepped his executive powers to enact 23 gun-related measures Wednesday that don't require the backing of lawmakers.

Meanwhile Sen. Mitch McCon nell's office released a statement saying the Senate minority leader "will continue to defend the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Kentuckians. While the administration acknowledged that there is much more to be done to enforce existing law, Sen. McConnell's first test of any new legislation the majority leader decides to bring before the Senate will be on whether or not it infringes on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms."