By Greg Campbell
National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre came out swinging Friday morning at a press conference designed to counter criticisms of the powerful gun rights group in the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
After expressing his sorrow for the victims of the tragedy in Newtown, LaPierre claimed that while many have sought to exploit the tragedy for political gains, the NRA has remained “respectfully silent.”
The press conference was briefly interrupted by a Codepink activist who held up a banner saying, “NRA killing our kids.” The man was led off by security as he shouted typical rhetoric.
In a logic-based assessment of what could realistically be done by about gun violence, LaPierre stated,
“The only way to answer that question is to face up to the truth. Politicians pass laws for Gun-Free School Zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them.
And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are their safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.”
“Gun-free zones” have been criticized more frequently in recent years as critics point out that the advertisement of such areas only further demonstrates a weak, vulnerable area where there are sure to be no concealed carry permit holders- a population whose numbers have dramatically increased in recent years.
“The media call semi-automatic firearms ‘machine guns’ — they claim these civilian semi-automatic firearms are used by the military, and they tell us that the .223 round is one of the most powerful rifle calibers … when all of these claims are factually untrue. They don’t know what they’re talking about!
Worse, they perpetuate the dangerous notion that one more gun ban — or one more law imposed on peaceful, lawful people — will protect us where 20,000 others have failed!… The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
LaPierre pointed out the responsible use of firearms used to protect valuable people every day in America. Congress is surrounded by armed guards and the president is protected by people with actual machine guns. LaPierre echoed a familiar sentiment heard from gun rights advocates in recent days by stating that armed personnel at schools would help reduce the risk of gun violence at schools. He stated,
“So why is the idea of a gun good when it’s used to protect our President or our country or our police, but bad when it’s used to protect our children in their schools? They’re our kids. They’re our responsibility. And it’s not just our duty to protect them — it’s our right to protect them… [W]hat if, when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he had been confronted by qualified, armed security?
Will you at least admit it’s possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared? Is that so abhorrent to you that you would rather continue to risk the alternative? Is the press and political class here in Washington so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and America’s gun owners that you’re willing to accept a world where real resistance to evil monsters is a lone, unarmed school principal left to surrender her life to shield the children in her care?”
As gun control discussions heat up in America, many are wondering what can be done. While many suggest gun control measures, many studies show that such measures not only do not reduce crime, but disarms the law-abiding while leaving the unlawful firearm users armed.
One thing is for certain: now that the NRA has joined the fight, this national discussion of gun control issues will not be going away for quite some time.