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School officials say high-powered rifles could prevent a massacre

Jae C. Hong / AP

Santa Ana school police Sgt. Kevin Philips locks his rifle in a gun rack mounted in a police vehicle in Santa Ana, Calif., Jan. 24, 2013. The semiautomatic rifles look like they belong in a war zone instead of a suburban public school, but officials in this Los Angeles-area city say the high-powered weapons now in the hands of school police could prevent a massacre.

By Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press

The semiautomatic rifles look like they belong in a war zone instead of a suburban public school, but officials in this Los Angeles-area city say the high-powered weapons now in the hands of school police could prevent a massacre.

"They're not walking around telling kids, 'Hurry up and get to class' with a gun around their neck," Fontana school police Chief Billy Green said. "Parents need to know that if there was a shooter on their child's campus that was equipped with body armor or a rifle, we would be limited in our ability to stop that threat to their children." 

"If the wrong person gets ahold of the gun, then we have another shooter going around with a gun. What happens then?" said James Henriquez, a 16-year-old sophomore who just enrolled at Fontana High School this week after moving from Texas.  Full story

Jae C. Hong / AP

Santa Ana school police Sgt. Kevin Philips checks out a rifle from the police armory in Santa Ana, Calif., Jan. 24. The officers split their time between 44 schools in the district and keep the rifles in a safe at their assigned school or secured in their patrol car each day before checking the weapon back in to the school police headquarters each night.

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