(CBS News) On Sunday, the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre said his organization is asking former Arkansas Congressman Asa Hutchinson to lead its efforts to put armed guards in every school across the U.S.
On Monday, Hutchinson spoke with Jeff Glor and Rebecca Jarvis on "CBS This Morning" to expand on his role -- which he says is to "develop a model plan" for securing schools -- and the possibility of new gun laws.
While he allowed that the presence of armed guards in schools "should be a voluntary program" Hutchinson insisted that "the status quo is not acceptable" and claimed that armed guards would greatly contribute to school safety:
"Right now, you have one-third of U.S. schools that do not have an armed presence...why should one-third have this greater safety while the other two-thirds do not? This Christmas season the highest priority should be the safety of our children."
Hutchinson went on to add that the guards would be "very discreet" and "highly trained" and that the team he will assemble to address the issue "will look at solutions across the board," ranging from "increased perimeter security" to "access controls."
But Hutchinson stopped short of allowing for the possibility that new gun laws could also increase security.
"We have no problem with that debate," he said, before adding, "You can pass 10 more laws in Congress and it's not going to change the risks that we have in our schools."
Speaking to the proposed renewal of the assault weapons ban, Hutchinson said, "We've had an assault rifle ban in our country and that did not accomplish the objectives. We had Columbine during the time that that ban was in place. The FBI, the Department of Justice has not indicated ... that that has made any difference at all in school safety."
He added, "Whether you should have additional restricts is going to be a debate that's in Congress ... we cannot wait six months in order for Congress to debate whether we're going to have more controls or not. We have to do something now."
And while he said that other measures may be included in his school safety recommendations, he maintained that the option of armed guards in schools "is one option that we as a society would be very much in error if we took that off the table."