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Allowing guns inside Va. schools has critics, supporters

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Gov. Bob McDonnell discussed Tuesday the idea of allowing people – adults, supervisors, principals, teachers - to be armed inside of public schools in Virginia.

“I know there`s been a knee jerk reaction against that,” said Governor Bob McDonnell, during his monthly segment “Ask the Governor” on WTOP.

“Especially you look at the facts at least from what they`ve been reporting in Connecticut, when this perpetrator went into the principal`s office apparently and actually killed the principal who was lunging - according to the facts that have come out so far - at the perpetrator heroically to try to stop him….if a person like that was armed and trained could they have stopped the carnage in the classroom?” McDonnell said.

“Perhaps,” he concluded.

The governor’s remarks have elicited reaction - on both sides of the issue.

State Sen. Dick Saslaw (D - Fairfax) in a released a statement said, “And when that fails to stop this, what’s next? Arm students?”

State Sen. Don McEachin (D - Henrico) also released a statement, calling on the governor to “focus on solutions that could actually have an impact, like banning the high capacity magazines.”

“I`m very concerned about the thought of school personnel carrying guns, because students outnumber them and there have been so many assaults on staff,” said Richmond school board member Kim Gray.

But retired Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel Gerald Massengill agrees with the governor.

Massengill was in charge of investigating the Virginia Tech shootings five years ago.

The shooting started in Norris Hall on campus. Massengill believes that if someone had been armed on the second floor of Norris Hall that day, the shooter would have been stopped before shooting so many other people.

He doesn't believe all teachers should be armed, but a few.

“To make sure they were trained to highest level and discuss the issues they are likely to confront coming into that school,” Massengill said.

Massengill said the primary focus should be on the mental health system, but the issue of guns has to also be to part of that discussion.