The National Rifle Association took a week to decide what to say about the Dec. 14 Newtown massacre, but let's not confuse deliberation with reason. Last Friday, it made a recommendation that was complete nonsense.
In the world view of Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president, America's schools should become armed encampments, with gun-toting guards patrolling the halls and teachers packing heat so they can defend their classrooms. He says that will make us feel safe.
Mr. LaPierre says "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
Well Nancy Lanza was not a "bad guy" and she had done what the NRA likes to see, keeping a well-stocked arsenal in her suburban Connecticut home. But she wasn't able to use it to defend herself when her son Adam turned the weapons on his mother, and then he used them to murder 20 little children and their teachers and school administrators.
At a time when the nation is mourning their loss and consumed by the unimaginable horror of their deaths, the NRA's irresponsible position that the federal government should pay to put armed police officers in every school is a shocking affront. Even the most cynical among us did not expect the NRA to turn the slaughter of innocents into a marketing opportunity. Its response is proof that although the association counts many law-abiding, well-meaning hunters and sports enthusiasts among its members, at its core it simply is a powerful, political lobby that serves as a mouthpiece for the gun manufacturing industry.
The NRA is out of touch with a majority of citizens who, in light of the Newtown tragedy, favor legislation that would sensibly tighten gun restrictions. We can only hope that members of Congress at long last will have the courage to say "no" to the NRA. Congress can improve the safety of our nation, not by engaging in an arms race in our children's schools but by saying enough to giving citizens unfettered access to military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Mr. LaPierre could not be more wrong about what will reduce the evil that is gun violence in this country.