A week after the Connecticut school massacre, the National Rifle Association called on Congress to provide funding for armed police in all of the nation’s schools.
At a Washington news conference Friday, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre blamed violent video games, movies and gun-free zones around schools for endangering children and said more guns, not fewer, are the solution.
“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,” he said. “And to do it now to make sure that blanket safety is in place when our kids return to school in January.”
LaPierre also announced that his group had tapped former Rep. Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark., to help establish a model school-shield program to recruit local volunteers, including retired military, police and parents, to protect students.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said. “Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away or from a minute away?”
The NRA’s proposals drew swift criticism from gun-control advocates, including those on Capitol Hill. “Walking out of another funeral and was handed the NRA transcript,” Rep. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., tweeted on Friday. “The most revolting, tone-deaf statement I’ve ever seen.”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is behind the Mayors Against Illegal Guns effort, called the NRA’s news conference “a shameful evasion” of the crisis.
“Instead of offering solutions to a problem they have helped create, they offered a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Today the NRA’s lobbyists blamed everyone but themselves for the crisis of gun violence.”
Officials of the powerful gun rights lobby did not express support for gun control proposals such as reinstating the assault weapons ban or limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines. Instead, LaPierre criticized politicians’ efforts to keep firearms away from schools.
“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 said.
LaPierre also sought to blame the media for misrepresenting the gun industry as well as the entertainment and video game industries for producing violent content. He showed a brief excerpt from one game called “Kindergarten Killers.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.