The National Rifle Association (NRA) held its awaited press conference today, suggesting a new program that would put an armed guard at “every school” nationwide.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s EVP. He reprimanded the media, saying that it had “demonized gun owners,” blamed violent video games, and criticized politicians for seeking stronger gun control laws.
“Politicians pass laws for gun free school zones, they issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And, in doing so, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk,” LaPierre also said in his remarks, which you can read in full here.
The NRA is calling for the creation of the National School Shield, which would train armed security guards.
The NRA had stayed noticeably quiet following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT last Friday that killed 26 people, including 20 children ages six and seven. Indeed, the NRA blamed everything except guns for the tragedy.
Moreover, the group is being taken to task on Twitter and in the media for its inability to secure its own press conference. Protesters interrupted the event not once, but twice.
“Even while the N.R.A. was offering to help schools better protect themselves, it proved unable to guard its own media event from protesters,” writes The New York Times.
Gun sales have gone up in the wake of the horror, with concerned parents even investing in backpack armor for their children. The President has pledged to put a gun control proposal before Congress next month, with a task force led by VP Joe Biden expected to also look at secondary issues surrounding gun violence, like the state of mental health treatment in this country. Many people, including some in Washington who were previously staunch supporters of the NRA and its agenda, have come out in favor of some changes to tighten up the laws.
Criticism of the NRA’s proposal today came swiftly and furiously. For those who’ve never been supporters of the NRA (and those who don’t believe every person in the US should be armed to the teeth, which includes many gun owners), the speech landed somewhere on the spectrum between “out-of-touch” and “insane.”
Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ) is quoted on the ABC News site: “It is beyond belief that following the Newtown tragedy, the National Rifle Association’s leaders want to fill our communities with guns and arm more Americans.”
Democratic Congressman Chris Murphy (CT) tweeted, “Walking out of another funeral and was handed the NRA transcript. The most revolting, tone deaf statement I’ve ever seen.”
Even Michael Steele, the former RNC chairman, said, “I just found it very haunting and very disturbing that our country now is talking about arming our teachers and our principals in classrooms,” on MSNBC today. “What does that say about us? I do not believe that is where the American people want to go,” he added. (via Politico)
The press conference was shocking, given that this was supposed to be a response to a mass killing that left small children dead in their school. More guns are the answer? Unbelievable. And indefensible as evidenced by the NRA’s refusal to take questions… at a press conference. What do you think?