Speed Reads

what could possibly go wrong?

School police in Compton cleared to purchase and carry AR-15 assault rifles

Parents in California's Compton Unified School District are up in arms over a new school board policy passed in July that will let on-duty campus police carry semi-automatic AR-15 rifles in their patrol car trunks.

Compton Unified Police Chief William Wu argues that officers do not have the proper equipment needed to combat a mass shooting or terrorist attack, KPCC reports. "This is our objective — save lives, bottom line," Wu told the board. "Handguns, you'd be lucky to hit accurately at 25 yards. With a rifle in the hands of a trained person, you can go 50, 100 yards accurately."

In order to purchase and then carry the rifle, the officer must pass an internal selection process. The AR-15s that could be used are semi-automatic, firing one shot per trigger pull. "This is not an assault rifle; it's a tool," Joe Grubbs, president of the California Association of School Resource Officers, told KPCC.

Critics say officials should be focusing on the day-to-day issues facing students, not an unlikely situation like terrorism. Last year, parents filed a lawsuit against the district, claiming that school police officers used racial profiling; students say the the officers used excessive force. "The school police has been very notorious in the community, and in reality has never had to shoot anyone before, so this escalation of weapons we feel is very unnecessary," says Dominguez High School grad Francisco Orozco. "The school police has not even earned the right to carry handguns."