NRA Calls for More Guns to Solve America’s Gun Violence Epidemic as Gunman Kills 4 in Pennsylvania
The National Rifle Association held its long-anticipated post-Newtown press conference on Friday, with the pro-gun lobby calling for more guns to solve America’s gun violence problem on the same morning that a gunman killed four people in Pennsylvania.
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre blamed movies, video games and music– everything but guns– for the surge in gun violence across the nation and called on lawmakers to take action in the wake of last week’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. But by ‘action,’ LaPierre meant more guns, not less.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre asserted at a Friday morning Washington, DC press conference. He then called on Congress “to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school in this nation.”
While further proliferation of guns would certainly be a boon to the firearms industry with which the NRA enjoys an incestuously symbiotic relationship, there is no proof that turning America’s schools into armed fortresses would reduce gun violence. Doing so would, however, increase the already soaring profits enjoyed by firearms manufacturers.
LaPierre insisted that so-called gun-free school zones are little more than an invitation to ne’er-do-wells to march right in and massacre as many innocent kids as they can.
“Politicians pass laws for gun-free school zones, they issue press releases bragging about them,” LaPierre said at the press conference. “In doing so, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.”
Speaking about last Friday’s Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, in which 27 people including 20 children were shot dead by gunman Adam Lanza, LaPierre asserted that lives may have been saved had there been an armed police officer at the school.
“Will you at least admit it’s possible that 26 little kids– that 26 innocent lives might have been spared that day?” he asked.
LaPierre was interrupted twice by anti-gun violence protesters. Activists from the San Francisco, California-based anti-war group Code Pink unfurled large banners reading “NRA, BLOOD IS ON YOUR HANDS” and “NRA KILLING OUR KIDS.”
“My God, calling for our schools to have armed guards, they are so out of touch,” Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin, who was booted from the press conference, said afterwards.
New York City Michael Bloomberg, a staunch gun control advocate, called LaPierre’s comments “shameful.”
“Their press conference was a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country,” Bloomberg said of the NRA. “Instead of offering solutions to a crisis 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.”
Mark Kelly, an astronaut and husband of former US congresswoman and Tucson shooting victim Gabby Giffords, said he was “extremely disappointed” by LaPierre’s remarks.
“Gabby and I are extremely disappointed by the NRA’s defiant and delayed response to massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Kelly wrote on his Facebook page.
Even conservatives slammed LaPierre’s speech.
Republican strategist John Weaver tweeted: “NRA and train wreck. New definition of tone deaf.”
Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele called the remarks “very haunting and very disturbing”:
“I just think that this was a missed opportunity to create another conversation at a higher level where the American people are right now,” Steele said. “… the message out of this press conference is let’s put a gun in hands of our teachers in our classroom and I don’t think that’s where rank-and-file NRA members expected this to go.”
As LaPierre was delivering his speech, gunman Jeffrey Lee Michael was going on a shooting rampage less than 180 miles away in rural Frankstown Township, Pennsylvania. Michael killed two men and a woman before being shot dead by police.
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