We have two-thirds of our schools -- or excuse me, one-third of our schools in America right now with an armed off-duty police officer or a resource officer. If you have a choice of sending your child to a school that has that type of protection versus not, I think most people in America would say, let's go to what would be the school that invests in that type of safety and security.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So when Governor Chris Christie and others say you don't want to turn schools into an armed camp for kids, you dismiss that criticism?
HUTCHINSON: Well, I do. Let's compare this back to the federal air marshal program on airplanes. There was intense debate that on airplanes, guns have no place, and yet we have a federal air marshal program that I helped to oversee, and which has provided a deterrent. It has increased the safety of the airlines, and it's not like it's an armed camp when you go on the airlines. It's a very discreet use of armed guards that has a presence there to protect America.
Are our children less important to protect than our air transportation? I don't think so. So I think it's a very reasonable approach.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say it should be part of the solution. I guess one of the questions, should it be a complement to other efforts or a substitute for other efforts? Even strong NRA supporters, like Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have argued that everything should be on the table. He has got a big piece in the Washington Post today. I want to read part of it. He says, "if you think the problem of mass violence in our country is about just guns, you're wrong. If you think it's about just an entertainment industry that markets violence to kids, you're wrong. If you think it's just about insufficient security in our schools, you're wrong. If you think it's just about the lack of mental health services for troubled young people and adults, you're wrong. We need to address all of them."
Is Senator Manchin right?
HUTCHINSON: Well, I think you need to have a broader debate. Part of that debate that I'm focused on is the safety in the schools, but absolutely, you have a mental health issue and component to this.
I would make the point when it comes to more restrictions on firearms in our society, that if we go down that path, we're going to miss the focal point of providing safety. I think that is really the wrong debate to have. We've had an assault weapon ban previous in our history. You had school violence continue. It's not restricted to weapons. You think of Timothy McVeigh, he used fertilizer to conduct his mayhem. So I would rather focus on the safety side, what can we do to better secure and protect our children at school.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But then are you saying that the gun control debate shouldn't be part of this at all?
HUTCHINSON: Well, it's -- sure, I mean, Congress is going to debate this. I just think it's not part of the ultimate solution on this.
When you think about bringing together nationwide experts to provide some solutions for the schools, that really is what I think is most important. Right now you've got states introducing laws that would mandate teachers to carry guns. You're having a whole potpourri of solutions, and I think if we get our experts together that could provide some things, that's a better direction to go that's thoughtful, that provides some solutions in terms of safety.