Some North Carolina schools add locked AR-15s to prepare for shooters

Sheriff Buddy Harwood and Lt. Coy Phillips meet with school system administration on July 13 to brief them on enhanced security procedures that will be implemented in Madison County schools in 2022-23.

MARSHALL, NC – The North Carolina Sheriff’s Office has placed AR-15 rifles under lock and key at a school district’s six campuses as an added security measure for the upcoming school year in response to the mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas.

It’s a move the North Carolina sheriff says will help law enforcement respond to potential violence in schools. But experts told USA TODAY the idea is unlikely to work and is the wrong approach to curbing gun violence.

Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood has promoted the idea as the nation reels from the botched police response in Uvalde, Texas. The tragedy revealed systemic failures and poor decision-making, with responding police disregarding active shooter training, according to a Texas state house report.

“Hopefully we never need it, but I want my guys to be as prepared as possible,” Harwood said.

If an active shooter situation occurs, the Sheriff’s Office has stored semi-automatic weapons in locked safes at every Madison County school. The safes also contain extra magazines, ammunition and breaching tools, Harwood said.

FILE - AR-15-style rifles are displayed at Burbank Ammo & Guns in Burbank, Calif., on June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

“In case we have someone barricaded in a doorway, we won’t have to wait for the fire department,” he added. “We’ll have those tools to be able to break down that door if we need to. I don’t want to have to run back to the car to grab an AR, because that’s wasted time.”

But national gun safety experts told USA TODAY they disagreed with the idea.

Leave a Comment