Gun-Control Measures Upset Both Sides of Aisle

     (CN) – President Barack Obama proposed a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, but some still worry about the pressure for police presence in public schools.
     The proposed legislation comes about a month after a gunman massacred 20 grade school children, his mother, and six teachers and administrators in Newtown, Conn.
     In response, Obama unveiled nearly 23 executive actions, including orders to facilitate police background checks, launch safety campaigns, review existing standards, mandate further research and increase access to mental health services.
     Another order established hiring grants for community-oriented policing services, or COPS, which funds the assignment of officers to monitor public schools, an apparent concession to the National Rifle Association.
     NRA executive director Wayne LaPierre proposed a similar “Secure Our Schools” initiative shortly after the Newtown tragedy of Dec. 14, 2012.
     Laura Murphy, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s legislative office in Washington, decried police surveillance of schoolchildren.
     “We have several concerns about the administration incentivizing police departments and school districts to put more police officers in schools,” Murphy said in a statement. “We fear that neutral sounding safety policies, such as putting more cops in school will lead to the over-incarceration of school-age children, especially students of color and students with disabilities, who are disproportionately arrested and prosecuted for issues that would normally be handled by school administrators when law enforcement is introduced into schools.”
     The ACLU has previously described this phenomenon as the school-to-prison pipeline.
     Meanwhile, the NRA described Obama’s other gun-control measures a “power grab,” and the White House launched a counteroffensive calling the NRA’s campaign “cowardly.”
     Neither side acknowledged similarity between the “Secure Our Schools” and the “COPS Hiring Grants” programs in their official statements.

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