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Armored Backpacks, Volunteer Guards Among Responses To School Shootings

Posted: December 20, 2012

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The mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., has prompted a variety of responses. Along with reports about soaring sales of backpacks designed to protect against bullets, there's word of volunteers — such as one Marine in California — who are standing watch outside schools.

U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Craig Pusley stood guard Wednesday at Hughson Elementary School in Modesto, Calif.

U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Craig Pusley stood guard Wednesday at Hughson Elementary School in Modesto, Calif. Ed Crisostomo

The latest stories about how the nation is reacting to last Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 first-graders and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, include:

-- Sales Of Armored Backpacks Reportedly Soar: News outlets are picking up on a Mother Jones report that a manufacturer of lightweight body armor for children and backpacks lined with material designed to protect against bullets says sales "have gone through the roof" since the Newtown shootings.

-- Marine Veteran "Stands Guard At California School": Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Craig Pusley "was on duty Wednesday," the Modesto Bee writes. "Desert camo fatigues, knees slightly bent, the young father stood a self-imposed watch at Hughson Elementary School. One man. No rifle. No pay. No breaks."

"I swore to defend this country from all enemies, foreign and domestic," Pusley said. As for not having a weapon, Pusley said: "I don't need to be armed to do this."

-- Staffer Put On Leave After Gun Is Found In Her Locker: In Minneapolis, a staff member at a public school was "put on administrative leave after bringing a loaded gun to school Wednesday morning," Minnesota Public Radio writes. The Star Tribune says the unidentified woman "has a permit to carry a weapon." She was not arrested.

It's not necessarily against the law for staffers to have guns in Minnesota schools, as the Star Tribune also reports. There's an exception in the state law that bans guns from schools and school grounds — if a staffer has the proper permits and "written permission of the principal or other person having general control and supervision of the school or the director of a child care center."

Greg Lund, a principal at a high school in northwestern Minnesota, tells the newspaper he carried a loaded gun "for years." He had the district's permission. Lund's school was in a rural area and he wanted the weapon in case his students were put in danger. "It would be 20 minutes or more before we would have police in the building," he says.

Related post: "Let Teachers Carry Guns? Some State Lawmakers Say Yes."

-- Gun Sales Take Off: After previous mass shootings, sales of guns, ammunition and related products surged because some enthusiasts concluded that new laws might soon make them illegal. That's happening again. "Prices for handgun magazines are surging on EBay and semi-automatic rifles are sold out at many Wal-Mart stores," Bloomberg News says.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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