The National PTA said President Obama's call Wednesday for new gun safety measures matches the organization's priorities for a safe learning environment for all students, but it falls short in its recommendations regarding school resource officers.
Obama announced the proposed measures following the shooting tragedy last month at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 first-graders and six teachers and school administrators, and the creation of a task force headed by Vice President Joe Biden. Obama is urging Congress to pass universal background checks for the sale and possession of firearms, ban non-sporting ammunition in high-capacity magazines, and re-enact and expand a federal ban on the sale and possession of military-style assault weapons that expired in 1994.
"As the President conveyed in his remarks, our number-one task, as a nation, is to protect our children," said National PTA President Betsy Landers. "To achieve this, National PTA believes schools also must be completely gun-free."
But Landers expressed "disappointment" that Obama failed to recommend expanding the school resource officer program.
Meanwhile, the NRA said in a statement that Obama's recommendations only target "law-abiding gun owners" and not children in schools.
"Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation," the NRA added.
At the same time, others are calling for teachers and administrators to be allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus to respond immediately to an incident whene law enforcement has yet to respond on scene. As reported last month, a rural school district in Texas is among many statewide that trains its employees on using firearms in the event of an armed event.
During a Dec. 21 news conference, the NRA has also called for schools across the nation to take similar steps with a "National School Shield Program." Virginia Gov. Bob McConnell has called the issue a "timely" and "reasonable" discussion to have. But in Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a bill last month that would have allowed concealed weapons in schools.