Gov. Asa Hutchinson says response to mass shootings should fall to states

Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the prevention of mass shootings like the one in Parkland, Florida, should be the responsibility of states and localities instead of the federal government. Hutchinson told CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that  protecting the nation's schools falls under the domain of the states. 

"This is uniquely the role of the states in determining safety. The role of the federal government, obviously, can spur the issues in terms of grant funding and hopefully that will be available to us. But largely the security side and the safety side will be the governors," said Hutchinson. 

Hutchinson said in more rural parts of his state, enhanced training programs to respond to an active shooter situation have helped schools prepare for the worst.

After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, Hutchinson spearheaded an effort by the National Rifle Association (NRA) to provide armed security at every school in the country, dubbed the National School Shield Emergency Response Program. That proposal closely mirrors President Trump's continued calls to arm teachers in an effort to prevent further mass shootings. 

Mr. Trump suggested during the administration's most recent White House listening session with state and local officials that teachers who were trained in being "adept at guns" could receive a bonus for their training efforts.

"We have to harden our schools, not soften them up. A gun-free zone to a killer or somebody that wants to be a killer, that's like going in for the ice cream. Like here I am -- take me," Mr. Trump said. "Shooters won't walk into a school if 20 percent of people have guns."

Hutchinson, however, said there needs to be "flexibility" when it comes to addressing the issue of arming teachers in schools. 

"Let me emphasize, there has to be some flexibility here. I've always said that teachers should teach and others should protect," said Hutchinson. 

"There are some teachers who, whenever they're looking at options and they've got the training and they've got the temperament and they've, they've done what's necessary," he added. "And if they want to be able to have a protection and be armed with that training I think that's a prerogative that they should have as well."

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital