"I call on Congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation," LaPierre said.
Hmm. Let's see. There are about 100,000 public K-12 schools in the nation, but since this is a public safety expense, not an educational one, we should probably protect children at the 30,000 or so private schools as well. So LaPierre's proposal would require hiring an additional 130,000 police officers. At least. Some large campuses would probably require more than one officer. So let's round up to 150,000 armed police officers, just to be safe.
What would this cost? According to the US Department of Justice, the national average annual cost of employing a police officer was $116,500 in 2007. Rounding up to $120,000 to account for inflation, that's $120,000 times 150,000 officers: LaPierre's proposal would cost taxpayers about $18 billion a year.
But budgets are tight—how to pay for it? Well, as the NRA likes to remind us, freedom isn't free, and who better to pay this cost than the gun owners themselves? Various estimates place the number of civilian firearms in the US at about 250 million. So, $18 billion divided by 250 million guns: An annual license fee of about $75 per gun should adequately cover the expense of the NRA's proposal to put armed police officers at every K-12 school in the US.
Personally, I'm somewhat horrified at LaPierre's suggestion that we need to militarize civilian America. If I wanted to live in an armed security state I'd move to Israel, where at least I'd get universal health care in return. But the more I think about it, $75 per gun per year might just be enough of a financial disincentive to irresponsible gun ownership, that it could start making a dent in the problem all by itself. So maybe LaPierre is onto something...?