School Initiative Proposed by Police Chief Puts Long Guns Within Reach

Gun safes stocked with shotguns and AR-15’s in schools? Yes, please.

In New Mexico? Yes, sir.

In a move to ensure student safety, the Los Alamos School Board unanimously approved an initiative to put guns in two of their district’s schools.


Proposed by Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone, the initiative will position gun safes filled with AR-15’s at both the high and middle schools to potentially save more lives in the event of an active shooter situation in either building.

“It will be stocked with shotguns and AR-15s,” Sgambellone said at Thursday’s meeting. “The reason for that is, and this isn’t in all cases, but in some layouts of schools a pistol is not an appropriate weapon because of the long hallways. Also, a pistol does not always appropriately counter what is brought to these types of situations.”

“The impetus for this request is our recent training and continuing analysis of our response to what we all hope never happens, but we have to plan for it,” the police chief stated. “There would be no reason to expose that type of weaponry in any situation other than an active shooter.”

“If an officer has access to weapons and other items, for example a first aid kit or a go bag, that initial contact is going to happen much quicker,” he further clarified. “Even if an officer is able to exit the school and get to his vehicle and return, those two minutes could result in a significant amount of shooting by the person or persons.”


Parents of students at the Los Alamos Middle and High Schools, whose combined enrollment is approximately 1,180 students, had mixed reactions to the board’s decision.

“For security and protection reason, then yeah I’m always for police carrying, I think they need to put in the right procedures and protections for access to the safes and locks,” said Ning Lee.

“I’m thinking the officer that has the gun on him would do more damage and more protection than having to run clear across campus to get a high powered rifle,” said Melissa Sanchez.

“You know there’s a weapon on school premises anyway with the SRO themselves, so we’re just asking for a secure way to keep additional weapons should the event arise,” said Sgambellone.

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