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Rounds steers gun reform debate away from firearms and into school safety

The gun reform debate won't go anywhere if the conversation is focused on firearms, U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds said Thursday. During a call with reporters, the South Dakota Republican reiterated his stance that school safety should trump gun control i...

U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds attends an event in 2017 at Dakotafest in Mitchell. (Republic file photo)
U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds attends an event in 2017 at Dakotafest in Mitchell. (Republic file photo)

The gun reform debate won't go anywhere if the conversation is focused on firearms, U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds said Thursday.

During a call with reporters, the South Dakota Republican reiterated his stance that school safety should trump gun control in the national gun reform debate.

"Why is it that even if we go to an airport, we have more security and safety even at an airport than we do in school?" Rounds said.

Rounds said there's a strong desire in Congress to provide enhanced safety at schools, and he spoke in frank terms about his perception that stronger school defenses will boost overall well-being of students.

"I'm a believer that if you can layer your defenses in schools, you make it less of a soft target for bad people who really are cowards and are just going to places where they think there's no defense available," Rounds said.

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His comments come just before Saturday's March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., where thousands are expected to march on behalf of gun control. Rallies are expected in other cities across the country, too.

While those expected to rally Saturday are pursuing gun reform measures, Rounds stood firm behind the need to specifically protect schools.

"And so if we can make it so they actually know that their chances of being successful are slim and none, we can go a long ways towards making them think about someplace else," Rounds said about a prospective school shooter.

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