Attorney lobbying to bring armed volunteers to Federal Way schools

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Mark Knapp wants something radical in Federal Way schools. Not a new textbook or controversial class -- just regular citizens armed with guns.

"It's unrealistic that just one thing is going to solve school violence," Knapp said.

Knapp is a firearms attorney who believes he can save the district money while protecting schools with armed volunteers patrolling campuses.

"Having people that are highly-trained, that are highly-proficient, that passed proficiency and background testing," he said.

Grandfather Bonifacao Porganan wouldn't mind a little more armed security for schools. He watched his grandson Issac and friends play basketball and said Knapp's plan has merit because of all the recent violence at schools. Something must be done.

"That's why it's a good idea," he said.

Knapp admits he faces an uphill battle to woo the district and Federal Way police.

"We're going to have to do some lobbying," he said.

Knapp said part of his pitch will be to compare the citizens to sky marshals. An active shooter would know about the program, but wouldn't know which plain-clothed person was armed.

But there's at least one huge obstacle -- everyday people carrying guns simply aren't allowed in schools.

But Knapp believes the law allows districts to effectively "deputize" citizens and let guns in.

"I don't really like the word volunteers, because it gives the idea that somebody is coming in off the street and saying, I've got a concealed pistol license," Knapp said.

Both Federal Way police and the school district had mixed reaction.

Police said in a statement: "The Federal Way Police Department's perspective on the merit and efficacy of armed volunteers in the Federal Way School District is that this is not something we have ever considered."

The district is already dismissing the idea, however, saying in part: "We are holding discussions with safety and security professionals, including the Federal Way Police Department, in order to ensure that our safety measures reflect the latest thinking and best practices in school safety -- which does not include armed volunteers."

Knapp is undeterred. He plans to meet with supporters Tuesday night and present a proposal to the district at a later date.
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