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Marcus Treiber, a 36-year-old Marine Corps veteran who has children in the Spotsylvania County school system, doesn't want political infighting in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings to delay basic action to protect students. He says "common sense" measures can make a difference right now.
Treiber co-owns National Institute of Justice-certified Renegade Armor of Fredericksburg with Skip Church, another Spotsylvania resident and Marine Corps veteran.
The company makes protective armor for the U.S. military and government and for law enforcement. After the Newtown shootings, Treiber says, Renegade provided bullet-proof vests free of charge to five Fredericksburg-area teachers.
But he doesn't believe body armor is the solution--especially not for schoolchildren.
"We're not about capitalizing on scared parents," he says.
Treiber, whose mother is an assistant superintendent of schools in Washington state, wants to "harden" schoolroom doors so attackers can't breach them.
"Let's find smart ways to use the technology we have right now," he says. "I'm not saying whether there should be guns in the classroom. That's a political discussion."
He said it would cost $1,000 or less per door for a quick, short-term protective measure--ballistic blankets with pockets that hold armored plates and which could be quickly snapped on in emergencies.
In the long term, he'd like to see ballistic doors installed in classrooms that could stand up to semi-automatic weapons fire and keep attackers from either shooting through doors or blowing out locks and entering. He estimated they would cost $1,200 each.
Hardening schoolroom doors "seems to me to be common sense," he said.
"I'm saying use the same technology used by the Department of Defense in [the Middle East]," Treiber said. "This is existing technology that could save people today."
He said politicians could then decide what other measures need to be taken.
He said he's contacted U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman's office and asked him to consider supporting federal funding to help schools harden doors to classrooms.
Treiber said a short-term solution might be clipping ballistic blankets on school room doors. He said they can be "hardened" to resist semi-automatic weapon fire by putting armor plates into pockets.
"We're prototyping one that will bolt on top of a door as either a soft- or hard-armor option. They could be deployed quickly."
As a long-term measure, he said the steel Renegade uses for police car doors and military vehicles could be used to make bullet-resistant school doors.
Michael Zitz: 540/846-5163