California School District Spent $14,000 on New Semi-Automatic Colt Rifles

The Colt 6940 semi-automatic rifle.<a href="[SP6940]"></a>/Flickr

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

When the public school students of Fontana, Calif., returned to classes in January, something had changed about their schools. Specifically, the Fontana Unified School District had filled on-campus safes with $14,000 in new Colt 6940 semi-automatic rifles for its 14 police officers. The high-powered, long-distance rifles will only be used in “extreme emergency cases.”

As the Los Angeles Times reports, the Fontana school district’s heavy arming of its campus cops has stirred a controversy in the local community. One school board member, Leticia Garcia, told the Times that police officials and school administrators acted without consulting local Fontanans, a grave mistake given the ongoing national debate around guns and schools. “It was not vetted by the board and not vetted by the community,” Garcia said.

Each Colt 6940 rifle, with an upper receiver originally designed for US Special Operations Command rifles, costs at least $1,000. Here’s more from the Times:

The district purchased the rifles in October and they arrived in December, before the tragedy in Newtown, where a gunman killed 26 people—20 of them children—at an elementary school. The shooting sparked a debate on whether armed school guards could prevent these types of tragedies.

The rifles have been on campuses since students returned from winter break in January, said Fontana Unified School District Police Chief Billy Green.

Though the purchase was not spurred by any one event, the rifles are designed to increase shooting accuracy from a distance and provides officers with effective stopping power against assailants wearing body armor. Those capabilities are necessary for officers to stop a well-armed gunman, Green contends.

“If you know of a better way to stop someone on campus that’s killing children or staff members with a rifle I’d like to hear it,” he said. “I don’t think its best to send my people in to stop them with just handguns.”

“I hope we would never have to use it,” he said. “But if we do, I’d like them to be prepared.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend