The nation’s largest gun-rights lobby called Friday for armed police officers to be posted in every American school to stop the next killer ‘‘waiting in the wings.’’
The National Rifle Association broke its silence on last week’s shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 children and staff dead.
‘‘The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,’’ the group’s top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, said at a Washington news conference.
LaPierre said ‘‘the next Adam Lanza,’’ the man responsible for last week’s mayhem, is planning an attack on another school.
‘‘How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame from a national media machine that rewards them with wall-to-wall attention and a sense of identity that they crave, while provoking others to try to make their mark,’’ LaPierre said. ‘‘A dozen more killers, a hundred more? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?’’
He blamed video games, movies and music videos for exposing children to a violent culture day in and day out. ‘‘In a race to the bottom, many conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate, and offend every standard of civilized society, by bringing an even more toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty right into our homes,’’ LaPierre said.
He refused to take any questions after speaking. Though security was tight, two protesters were able to interrupt LaPierre’s speech, holding up signs that blamed the NRA for killing children. Both were escorted out, shouting that guns in schools are not the answer.
LaPierre announced that former Rep. Asa Hutchison, R-Ark., will lead an NRA program that will develop a model security plan for schools that relies on armed volunteers.
The 4.3 million-member NRA largely disappeared from public debate after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., choosing atypical silence as a strategy as the nation sought answers after the rampage. The NRA temporarily took down its Facebook page and kept quiet on Twitter.
Since the slayings, President Barack Obama has demanded ‘‘real action, right now’’ against U.S. gun violence and called on the NRA to join the effort. Moving quickly after several congressional gun-rights supporters said they would consider new legislation to control firearms, the president said this week he wants proposals to reduce gun violence that he can take to Congress by January.
Obama has already asked Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and pass legislation that would stop people from purchasing firearms from private sellers without a background check. Obama also has indicated he wants Congress to pursue the possibility of limiting high-capacity magazines.
Coalition grills NRA
CeaseFirePA, a coalition of Pennsylvanians, mayors, police chiefs, faith leaders, and community organizations, issued a statement Friday afternoon saying the NRA has completely removed itself from the state and national conversations about gun violence and gun violence prevention.
Shira Goodman, CeaseFirePA Executive Director, explained, “The NRA demonstrated today that it is completely out of step with the public, which has been calling for leadership and real action on the issue of how to keep our families safe from gun violence. The NRA’s solution – more guns in our schools – is an acknowledgment that it has nothing to contribute to a meaningful dialogue about how to reduce gun violence.”
CeaseFirePA responded to the NRA’s “solution” by explaining that the question of armed guards in schools should be addressed in coordination by school administrators, local officials, police officers, security professionals, teachers and parents. “It is a complicated issue, and one that deserves careful attention by all of these constituencies. The NRA’s focus on this as the single solution is strong evidence that NRA leaders are trying to distract the public from a broad-based approach to reducing gun violence and keeping our communities safer.”