NRA solution to school violence: Armed guards in the halls
December 22, 2012 2:30 AM
Alex Brandon/Associated Press
National Rifle Association Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre last year in Washington. He spoke this morning, one week after the Connecticut shootings.
Evan Vucci/Associated Press
NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre at a news conference today in response to last Friday's school shootings in Connecticut that left 26 children and staff dead.
By Jonathan D. Silver Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The National Rifle Association today pushed for putting armed police officers in schools throughout the nation.
"I call on Congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our kids return to school in January," NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said.
In a news conference streamed live online from Washington, D.C., the nation's largest gun-rights lobby, with 4 million members, blistered politicians, the media and Hollywood for demonizing firearms and gun owners.
Fifth eState: Social media bring gun control into spotlight
On "The Fifth eState," the PG's Mila Sanina talks about the role of social media in bringing gun control into the spotlight following last week's school shootings in Connecticut. (Video by Andrew Rush; 12/21/2012)
"What if when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday he'd been confronted by qualified armed security? Will you at least admit it's possible that ... the 26 innocent lives might have been spared that day? Is it so abhorrent to you that you'd rather continue to risk the alternative?"
The NRA also announced a "National School Shield" program to enhance security at schools. Mr. LaPierre said the NRA would foot the bill and install Asa Hutchinson, a former congressman, high-ranking government official and federal prosecutor to lead it.
The NRA Tuesday had publicized its plans for a "major news conference" in which it would "offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."
The NRA's statement comes one week after a 20-year-old gunman slaughtered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Police said Lanza killed his mother in their home, massacred the staff and pupils at the school and then committed suicide. Police have not uncovered a motive.
Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA, an anti-gun violence group, expressed disappointment with the NRA's announcement, particularly with the fact that it came on the week anniversary of the shootings and had been built up during the week.
"I think the NRA is completely out of touch with the sentiment in America and Pennsylvania. Their solution that the answer to the problem is more guns especially in our schools seems so out of step with what people are talking about that, frankly, I can't believe this is what they came out with and did as a national press conference," Ms. Goodman said.