North Carolina county will install AR-15 safes in local schools for emergencies

The gun safes aim to buy law enforcement critical time during a potential emergency

Updated: August 5, 2022 - 4:54pm

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The six schools in Madison County, N.C., will soon receive emergency safes containing AR-15s for security purposes, a measure the school system determined was necessary to ensure student safety following the Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting in which young children and faculty were killed.

“We were able to put an AR-15 rifle and safes in all of our schools in the county,” Sheriff Buddy Harwood said, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times. “We’ve also got breaching tools to go into those safes. We’ve got extra magazines with ammo in those safes.”

The gun safes aim to buy law enforcement critical time during a potential emergency by providing tools for dealing with a shooter on hand, rather than forcing authorities to procure them from a vehicle.

“I do not want to have to run back out to the car to grab an AR, because that’s time lost. Hopefully we’ll never need it, but I want my guys to be as prepared as prepared can be,” Harwood said.

Breaching tools will allow law enforcement to get through blocked doorways without waiting for the fire department to arrive, the Hill noted. The ability to easily pass through strategic doorways can make the difference between the swift elimination of a shooter or a high death toll.

In the case of the Uvalde shooting, a report found that alleged gunman Salvador Ramos entered the Robb Elementary School classroom in which he barricaded himself through a door with a broken lock. The school's principal, Mandy Gutierrez, received a suspension after the report asserted that she was aware of the issue and did not act.

Harwood addressed parental concerns about the presence of guns in the schools, assuring them that the move would make it easier for he and his deputies to stand between their children and any would-be mass shooter.

“I want the parents of Madison County to know we’re going to take every measure necessary to ensure our kids are safe in this school system," he said. "If my parents, as a whole, want me to stand at that door with that AR strapped around that officer’s neck, then I’m going to do whatever my parents want as a whole to keep our kids safe.”