In a much-anticipated press conference following Friday’s mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, NRA EVP Wayne LaPierre expressed horror, outrage and grief at the tragedy and said that they delayed comment out of respect for the families. He then decried attempts to “exploit the tragedy out of political gain.” Saying the issue at hand is how to protect children now, he decried gun free zones. Pointing out that money, power plants, sports stadiums and the president are protected by men with guns, the nation’s children aren’t and “that must change now.” Apparently having minimal screening and security on hand, LaPierre was intrerrupted twice by banner-waiving protestors, one claiming the NRA and assault weapons are killing our children . . .
LaPiere went on to ask rhetorically how many more Adam Lanzas are out there. He also noted the absence of a national database of the mentally ill. Violent video games and other forms of entertainment also came in for criticism, singling out an online game called Kindergarten Killers and saying that fantasizing about killing people is “the most filthy form of pornography.”
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
He anticipated the inevitable headlines screaming that the NRA’s only answer to the “gun problem” is still more guns. He then wondered why the idea of a gun is good when it’s there to protect our president, but bad when it’s there to protect children in schools.
While acknowledging that there’s no single solution to the problem, he pointed out that the President Obama zero’d out school emergency planning funds from recent federal spending. The then asked, given the amount of money going to foreign aid, if money couldn’t be found to put a police officer in every school. LaPierre then called on Congress to immediately appropriate the funds necessary for a cop in every schoolhouse in time for the start of school in January.
LaPierre also pledged the NRA’s help in training the added manpower necessary to staff the new school security positions. Former congressman Asa Hutchinson will lead what he called the National School Shield Safety program, to be funded by the NRA. And he said the School Shield program will be made available to every school in the country, free of charge.
Asa Hutchinson, former DEA head, said armed, trained, qualified personnel would be only one part of the program that “doesn’t depend on massive funding from local or federal government.” It will make use of local volunteers who will be trained and certified by the NRA.
Not covered: the latest gun control efforts in both the executive and legislative branches. While the president has called for a new assault weapons ban and Senator Diane Feinstein has had one waiting and ready to go for months, the NRA was silent on the topic. For now. And despite some of the attending reporters’ best efforts to shout questions, LaPierre, Hutchinson and NRA president David Keane said the gun rights organization will start taking media inquiries through their press office on Monday.
As always, watch this space.