Right-wing media call for armed guards in schools in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting

Sean Hannity Uvalde security guards

In the aftermath of the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two adults dead, right-wing media figures chose to advocate for placing more armed security or police in schools. Yet there are reports that a school district officer engaged with the gunman as he was entering the school building and was unable to stop him.

Right-wing media have a nearly decade-long history of responding to school shootings by insisting that the solution is simply more guns and armed security in schools. This strategy dates back to the National Rifle Association’s response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012. Previously, the NRA advocated for a “zero tolerance” policy for guns in schools in the aftermath of the April 1999 Columbine High School shooting. After the Sandy Hook shooting, however, the NRA started advocating for armed guards in schools and continued to do so following subsequent school shootings, including the February 2018 one at a Parkland, Florida, high school. Right-wing media followed the NRA’s lead, pushing for arming teachers and adding more armed security to schools. In 2022, right-wing media are again parroting the same NRA talking points and pushing for more armed guards in schools, regardless of reports that a school resource officer engaged with the alleged gunman before he entered Robb Elementary School.

Fox News wants more armed cops in schools

  • Fox guest and father of a Parkland shooting victim Andrew Pollack advocated for more school resource officers and against gun control. On the May 25 edition of Fox & Friends, Pollack said, “We need school resource officers, and it is just terrible to think that this was all avoidable. And we shouldn't be focusing on gun control now.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/25/22]
  • Fox host Lawrence Jones advocated for a school resource officer in every school. On the May 25 edition of Fox & Friends, Jones said that “it seems like at bare minimum, we should have a law enforcement officer at every school to be a shield,” rather than teachers acting as “human shields.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/25/22]
  • Fox contributor Katie Pavlich asked why schools aren’t “protected in the same way that airports or banks or stadiums are protected?” On the May 25 edition of America’s Newsroom, Pavlich added, “I would say there is an argument to be made that the pro-gun control lobby also should be looked at in the sense there has been a concerted effort over the last two or three years to take armed officers out of schools simply because they have firearms.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 5/25/22]
  • Fox’s Geraldo Rivera rhetorically asked why we don’t require “a school safety officer, … a good guy with a gun,” at every school. In the immediate aftermath of the shooting Rivera said on the May 24 edition of The Five, “Why isn’t there a requirement that there be a school safety officer, that there be somebody — a good guy with a gun — at every school?” [Fox News, The Five, 5/24/22]
  • Fox’s Jesse Watters advocated for “one single armed security guard in every single public school” in the country. During the May 24 edition of The Five, Watters asked, “Where is the obstacle to having, politically, to having one single armed security guard in every single public school, K-12, in the country?” He added, “It doesn't seem like that’s that huge of a deal.” Co-host Jeanine Pirro responded by lamenting that some people are “intimidated, they are triggered, if there is someone with a gun” in a school. [Fox News, The Five, 5/24/22]
  • Watters demanded the government redirect COVID-19 relief funds to hiring “armed security agents.” During the May 24 edition of his prime-time program, Watters demanded that America redirect COVID-19 relief money that was given to schools to put “armed security agents” at every elementary school in the country. [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 5/24/22]
  • Fox host Sean Hannity argued that we can put “retired military” and “retired law enforcement” in “every school” to prevent school shootings. During the May 24 edition of his prime-time program, Hannity added, “You have people on the ground that are fully trained that will be capable of immediately responding and hopefully preventing death in the process. People seem resistant to that idea and I'm not sure why.” [Fox News, Hannity, 5/24/22]
  • Fox contributor and former Trump administration official Tom Homan said “now is the time to harden schools.” During a May 25 appearance on Fox & Friends, Homan, the former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, claimed, “Now is the time to harden schools, have armed officers at these schools. We can do it. We are a great nation. And the parents who send the children to school will now know we have somebody on campus that would protect their children and take something on if it happens. And, look, I think it's also going to help to repair the relationships between the communities and police officers. The groups that didn't want school resource officers because they are armed. They didn't want guns on campus. We can change that dynamic.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/25/22]

Right-wing radio and podcast hosts push for a “good guy with a gun” in classrooms

  • Right-wing talk show host Steven Crowder claimed that nearly all mass shootings have been stopped, and could be prevented, by “a good guy with a gun.” On the May 25 edition of his BlazeTV show Louder with Crowder, Crowder claimed that one factor common among almost “100%” of mass shootings is that they have been ​stopped by “a guy with a gun.” [BlazeTV, Louder with Crowder, 5/25/22]
  • Fox host and conservative radio host Mark Levin claimed “you need an armed guard at these schools.” Levin pushed for more armed individuals in schools during the May 24 edition of The Mark Levin Show, saying, “​​Under any circumstance, in fact, under every circumstance you need an armed guard at these schools. Even that can fail. Killer can come in one entrance while the armed guard is on the second floor down at the other end of the school. But the point is to try and curb the threats that face our children.” [Westwood One, The Mark Levin Show, 5/24/22]

Right-wing figures on Twitter push for increased security and armed teachers

  • Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro: [Twitter, 5/25/22]
  • Conservative radio host Erick Erickson advertised a group that trains teachers and faculty on how to use guns. [Twitter, 5/25/22]
  • Townhall columnist Kurt Schlichter: [Twitter, 5/25/22]