LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (CN) — Gun safes stocked with shotguns and AR-15 semi-automatic rifles will be installed in Los Alamos, New Mexico’s middle school and high school, after the school board approved the plan unanimously.
Los Alamos, pop. 12,000, northwest of Santa Fe, is best known for Los Alamos National Laboratory, where nuclear weapons research was conducted during World War II, and nuclear research continues.
Los Alamos has never had a school shooting. In 2014 there was a shooting at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, 225 miles away.
Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone pitched the idea at a special school board meeting on Aug. 25, saying that if there were an “active shooter incident” at the schools, it would give police officers access to weapons on site.
The gun safes at Los Alamos Middle School and Los Alamos High School will be bolted down in a secure area and only officers will have access to them, Sgambellone said.
Sgambellone told the school board that during the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, officers had to wait for tactical backup, and murders continued at the school.
“Current training is, if you’re there, whether you’re by yourself or not, you go in because the sooner you can get there and the sooner you can engage that person or persons involved in this type of activity, the less likely they will be able to continue to hurt other people,” Sgambellone told the school board, according to the Los Alamos Monitor newspaper.
Sgambellone told the Monitor that the reason for the heavy weapons is that “in some layouts of schools a pistol is not an appropriate weapon because of the long hallways. Also, a pistol does not always appropriately counter what is brought to these types of situations.”
He said the only time the weapons would be taken out of the safes would be if there was “an active shooter.”
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