Saying "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," the head of the National Rifle Association called for an increase in armed security in schools in the wake of the Newtown school massacre.
Wayne LaPierre, NRA’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, said that by making gun-free school zones, politicians have exposed children to the criminally insane.
"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.
"We care about our money, so we protect our banks with armed guards." he said. "Even sports stadiums are all protected by armed security. We care about our President, so we protect him with armed security ... yet when it comes to our most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family -- our children -- we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of the world know it, and exploit it."
At that point in the press conference, LaPierre was interrupted by a man holding a red sign that read "NRA Killing Our Kids." The man was taken away, shouting "It's the NRA and -- the assault weapons that are killing our children."
LaPierre was interrupted again later by another protester.
After the man was removed, LaPierre continued:
"Our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters," he said, and criticized the lack of a database of the mentally ill.
A West Hartford school official dismissed LaPierre's remarks.
“As a school official, we won’t be taking our advice on how to keep kids safe from the president of the NRA,” said Tom Moore, assistant superintendent for administration for West Hartford schools.
“That’s my comment as a school official,” he said. “As a father of two kids in schools: I come from a family of hunters; I have four brothers who are hunters and members of the NRA. All I’ll be asking for Christmas, after hearing Wayne LaPierre essentially blame school officials for the shootings, is for [my brothers] to resign from the NRA,” Moore said.
LaPierre also blamed the media for not telling the public about some violent video games.
"And here's another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal," he said: "There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people, through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here's one: it's called Kindergarten Killers. It's been online for 10 years. How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn't or didn't want anyone to know you had found it?"
"In a race to the bottom, media conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate and offend every standard of civilized society by bringing an ever-more-toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty into our homes — every minute of every day of every month of every year," he said. "And throughout it all, too many in our national media, their corporate owners, and their stockholders act as silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators.
"Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize lawful gun owners, amplify their cries for more laws and fill the national debate with misinformation and dishonest thinking that only delay meaningful action and all but guarantee that the next atrocity is only a news cycle away."
He said the media incorrectly identify weapons and ammunition and said "They don't know what they're talking about."
"As brave, heroic and self-sacrificing as those teachers were in those classrooms, and as prompt, professional and well-trained as those police were when they responded," LaPierre said, "they were unable — through no fault of their own — to stop it ... The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
"What if Adam Lanza ... were confronted by qualified, armed security?" he asked. "Will you at least admit that it's possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared? Is it so abhorrent to you that you'd rather risk the alternative? Is the press and the political class here in Washington D.C. so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and American gun owners?"
"I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January."
The move comes a week after Adam Lanza massacred 20 children and 6 adults in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
The NRA initially responded to the tragedy with a statement released earlier this week.
“National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters – and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown," the statement read.
"The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."
President Obama on Wednesday called for new proposals from congress to address the issue of gun violence. He appointed Vice President Joseph Biden to head up an interagency commission.
Staff writer Julie Stagis contributed to this report.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun