The North Carolina school system has put AR-15 rifles in every school building

  • A North Carolina school system gave its six schools AR-15 rifles to protect against mass shooters.
  • The weapons were added after a horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children dead.
  • “I want my guys to be as prepared as possible,” Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood said.

A North Carolina school system has donated AR-15 rifles to every school in an effort to protect children from mass shooters, according to a report by the Asheville Citizen-Times.

“We were able to put an AR-15 rifle and a safe in all of our county schools,” Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood told the Citizen-Times. “We also have breaching tools to get into those safes. We have extra magazines with ammo in those safes.”

Six elementary, middle and high schools received a gun, ammunition and a safe, Harwood said.

The weapons were added to schools following the devastating school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in May. Police said the shooter killed 19 children and two adults in the shooting.

“These officers were in this building for so long, and this suspect was able to infiltrate this building and injure and kill so many children,” Harwood said. “I just want to make sure my deputies are prepared in case that happens.”

“The reason we put the breaching tools in safes is so if someone barricades themselves in a door, we don’t have to wait for firefighters to get there,” Harwood added. “We’ll have those tools so we can get through that door if necessary. I don’t want to have to go back to the car to get an AR because it’s wasted time. Hopefully we never need them, but I want my guys to be as prepared as possible.”

So far in 2022, there have been 27 school shootings, according to the Education Week tracker. In 2021, there were 34 school shootings. And this year, the number of school shootings is rising rapidly and could easily exceed last year’s figure.

After the Uvalde shooting, four companies that make bulletproof gear told Insider they’ve seen more customers search for and buy bulletproof backpacks since a gunman opened fire at the Robb Elementary School in Texas.

Manufacturers have noted, however, that the presence of certain bulletproof equipment could scare parents.

Harwood told the Citizen-Times he believed the guns and ammunition were necessary to protect the students in the event of a shooting.

“I hate that we’ve come to a place in our country where I have to put a safe in our schools and lock that safe so my deputies can get an AR-15. But, we can’t. turn it off and say it’s not going to happen in Madison County, but you never know,” he said. “I want Madison County parents to know that we are going to take all necessary steps to keep our children safe in this school system. If my parents, as a whole, want me to stand at this door with this AR tied around this officer’s neck, so I’ll do whatever my parents want in all to keep our kids safe.”

Jeremy S. McLain