August 12, 2022
North Carolina county officials hope that equipping schools with AR-15 rifles will prevent shootings.

According to Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood, safes will include “breach equipment” as well as “extra magazines with ammo” to open barricaded doors.

Harwood said he can see how “inconvenient” the “optics” of school resource officers using the AR-15 can be. However, he sees it as a necessary action.

“I hate that we’ve come to a place in our country where I have to put a vault in my schools, and close that vault so my reps can get AR-15s,” Harwood said.

“But, we can shut it down and say it won’t happen in Madison County, but we never know,” he told the newspaper. “I want parents in Madison County to know that we are going to take every measure possible to make sure our children are safe in this school system.”

The plan comes as officials in the county are expected to boost security measures, citing “extremely poor decision-making” by police in response to the Uvalde, Texas, massacre. They were “systemic failures”. detailed in a report by the Texas House Inquiry Committee.

“Those officers were in that building for so long, and that suspect was able to sneak into that building and injure and kill so many children,” Harwood said.

“I don’t want to run back to the car to grab the AR, because that time is lost,” Harwood said. “Hopefully we’ll never need it, but I want my people to be as prepared as they can be.”

Madison County Schools Superintendent Will Hoffman said administrators are “meeting regularly” with law enforcement to speed up school safety efforts.

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