Asa Hutchinson on 'This Week'

The head of the NRA's new National School Shield Program is interviewed.
9:23 | 12/23/12

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Transcript for Asa Hutchinson on 'This Week'
Good morning, and welcome to "this week." The clock is ticking. Nobody gets 100% of what they want. Fiscal cliff chaos. It's not the outcome that i wanted, but that was the will of the house. After speaker boehner's stinging defeat, is there any way to salvage a deal and strengthen our economy? How we get there, god only knows. I actually still think we can get it done. The science from the nra. Blood-soaked films out there. Violent video games. The national media machine. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. And a new pick for secretary of state. Our headliner this morning, the nra's new point person on school shootings, asa hutchinson. Then the senate debate with republican johnny isakson and democrat amy klobuchar. Plus our powerhouse roundtable with newark mayor cory booker, anti-tax activist and nra board member grover norquist, peggy noonan of "the wall street journal" and KATRINA vanden HEUVEL FROM "THE Nation." Hello, again. The president and congress are off for christmas fleeing a capitol filled with political rancor and political dysfunction. Fiscal cliff talks have completely collapsed. Questions about the president's new national security team has forced him to announce the appointments piecemeal and the nra's first response to the tragedy in newtown provoked a fierce debate. We'll cover that starting with the nra's choice to lead a national effort to protect schools, former congressman, asa hutchinson. Good morning, mr. Hutchinson. Thanks for joining us this morning. Hi. You emphasized at the press conference friday you will be independent. But as you begin your effort, initiative, I wonder if you agree with the analysis of the problem laid out by wayne LaPIERRE WHO SAYS AMERICANS HAVE To face this truth. Take a look. Politicians pass laws for gun-free school zones, and in doing so, they tell every insane killer in america that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk. Do you personally believe, congressman, that gun-free school zones have been invitations to mayhem and that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun? Well, I think that when you look at school safety, you've got to put armed guards into the equation. I've made it clear that it should not be a mandatory law that every school has there. There should be local choice but absolutely, I believe that protecting our children with an armed guard who is trained is an important part of the equation. 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 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, l go to what would be the school that invests in that type of safety and security. So when governor chris christie, others say that you don't want to turn schools into an armed camp for kids, you dismiss that criticism? 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 is 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. You say it should be part of the solution. I guess one of the questions is, should it be a complement to other efforts or a substitute for other efforts. Even strong supporters like senator snow manchin has argued everything should be on the table and has a piece in "the washington post." He says "if you think the problem of mass violence in our country is just about gun, you're wrong. If you think it's just about an entertain industries that markets to kids you're wrong. If you think it's just about insufficient security or the lack of mental health services for troubled young people and adults you're wrong. We need to address all of them" is he right? Well, I think you need a broader debate. Part of that debate that I'm focused on is 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 have school violence continued. It's not restricted to weapons that you think of timothy McVEIGH, HE USED FERTILIZER TO Conduct his mayhem. So I would rather focus on the safety side, what we do to better secure and protect our children at school. Are you saying that the gun debate shouldn't be part of this at all? 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. You don't think these states should mandate teachers carrying guns? No, I -- you think about a teacher, they go to educate these young people. They're not there to carry concealed weapons and provide that protection. They have to fulfill that role and they do it very bravely sometimes but I think it's much better to have a retired police officer or retired military person who's been trained for sensitive environments that can provide the protection, an added level of security and other security measures, not just that. Let the teachers teach and let others protect. I think that some people would agree with the idea of having armed security guards in the school if the community wanted it, but they would also say at the same time we have to have some commonsense restrictions on guns. You shouldn't have high-capacity magazines that can shoot 30 bullets. Senator manchin said background checks for those who buy them at gun shows, not just from registered dealers. What's wrong with those? I think it takes away -- it -- whenever you pass those kind of laws, you think, well, we've done something. We've somehow made our children more safe, so you go home. I don't think the job is really accomplishing anything if you take that approach. But why not do both? Because the children will still be unsafe. Why not do what you're recommending and have gun control? Well, I don't think that's the solution. Congress can debate that. I will focus my energies, not on the political side, but simply on the technical, security and safety side, and I think that that's going to accomp in helping our schools protect the children than anything else that we can do. Finally let's bring this back to the children and those victimes in newtown.Some of the families have now begun to speak out. I want to show mark and jacqueline barden. Their daughter was killed in newtown, and here's what they had to say to katie couric. My daughter natalie was interested in asking him if he could pass some kind of legislation so that the only people that had guns were enforcement and if people needed guns for sport, that they could go to a range and the guns would have to stay there. That was my 10-year-old daughter. That was all her own original thought. She just doesn't understand how somebody could have access to walk into a school with this stuff. I apologize. It was their son, but what do you say to the barden family? I just say, my heart goes out for you. It is an incredibly grieving time for them, for the city of newtown and our nation, and we look forward to getting their thoughts, as well as many others as we develop what we all want to do, which is better safety programs. We want to protect our children, and that's what we have in common together. Congressman, thanks for your time this morning.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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