Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood made the decision to stock the six schools located in the country with the semiautomatic rifles.
The actions comes in the wake of school shootings such as that occurred in Uvalde, TX.
Uvalde law enforcement has received nationwide condemnation for the response to the shooting.
In defending his decision to stock NC schools with semiautomatic weapons, ... Harwood referenced the Uvalde shooting, calling the response "egregiously poor decision-making." According to Harwood, the AR-15 rifles would be locked in a safe to be used by a school resource officer (SRO).
The sheriff's office is working in tandem with the NC school district in question.
News of the sheriff's decision has sparked controversy.
Some, including UNC academics, say that the presence of an SRO and such a weapon in schools can lead to increased violence.