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NRA calls for armed police officer in every school

Friday, December 21, 2012

The National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre pauses as he makes a statement during a news conference in response to the Connecticut school shooting, on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 in Washington. The National Rifle Association broke its silence Friday on last week's shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 children and staff dead.
(AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
WASHINGTON -- Guns and police officers in all American schools are what's needed to stop the next killer "waiting in the wings," the National Rifle Association declared Friday, taking a no-retreat stance in the face of growing calls for gun control after the Connecticut shootings that claimed the lives of 26 children and school staff.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said Wayne LaPierre, the group's chief executive officer.

Some members of Congress who had long scoffed at gun-control proposals have begun to suggest some concessions could be made, and a fierce debate over legislation seems likely next month. President Barack Obama has demanded "real action, right now."

The nation's largest gun-rights lobby broke its weeklong silence on the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School with a defiant presentation. The event was billed as a news conference, but NRA leaders took no questions. Twice, they were interrupted by banner-waving protesters, who were removed by security.

Some had predicted that after the slaughter of a score of elementary-school children by a man using a semi-automatic rifle, the group might soften its stance, at least slightly. Instead, LaPierre delivered a 25-minute tirade against the notion that another gun law would stop killings in a culture where children are exposed daily to violence in video games, movies and music videos. He argued that guns are the solution, not the problem.

"Before Congress reconvenes, before we engage in any lengthy debate over legislation, regulation or anything else; as soon as our kids return to school after the holiday break, we need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work," LaPierre said. "And by that I mean armed security."

He said Congress should immediately appropriate funds to post an armed police officer in every school. Meanwhile, he said the NRA would develop a school emergency response program that would include volunteers from the group's 4.3 million members to help guard children.

His armed-officers idea was immediately lambasted by gun control advocates, and not even the NRA's point man on the effort seemed willing to go so far. Former Republican Rep. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, whom LaPierre named national director of the program, said in an interview that decisions about armed guards in schools should be made by local districts.

"I think everyone recognizes that an armed presence in schools is sometimes appropriate," Hutchinson said. "That is one option. I would never want to have a mandatory requirement for every school district to have that."

He also noted that some states would have to change their laws to allow armed guards at schools.

Hutchinson said he'll offer a plan in January that will consider other measures such as biometric entry points, patrols and consideration of school layouts to protect security.

LaPierre argued that guards need to be in place quickly because "the next Adam Lanza," the suspected shooter in Newtown, Conn., is already planning an attack on another school.

"How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame from a national media machine that rewards them with wall-to-wall attention and a sense of identity that they crave, while provoking others to try to make their mark?" LaPierre asked. "A dozen more killers, a hundred more? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation's refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?"

While there is a federally maintained database of the mentally ill -- people so declared by their states -- a 1997 Supreme Court ruling that states can't be required to contribute information has left significant gaps. In any case, creation of a mandatory national database probably would have had little impact on the ability of suspected shooters in four mass shootings since 2011 to get and use powerful weapons. The other people accused either stole the weapons used in the attacks or had not been ruled by courts to be "mentally defective" before the shootings.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the NRA is blaming everyone but itself for a national gun crisis and is offering "a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe."

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., called the NRA's response "both ludicrous and insulting" and pointed out that armed personnel at Columbine High School and Fort Hood could not stop mass shootings. The liberal group CREDO, which organized an anti-NRA protest on Capitol Hill, called LaPierre's speech "bizarre and quite frankly paranoid."

"This must be a wake-up call even to the NRA's own members that the NRA's Washington lobbyists need to stand down and let Congress pass sensible gun control laws now," CREDO political director Becky Bond said in a statement.

The NRA's proposal would be unworkable given the huge numbers of officers needed, said the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Craig Steckler.

He pointed to budget cuts and hiring freezes and noted that in his hometown of Fremont, Calif., it would take half the city's police force to post one officer at each of the city's 43 schools.

The Department of Education has counted 98,817 public schools in the United States and an additional 33,366 private schools.

There already are an estimated 10,000 school resource officers, most of them armed and employed by local police departments, in the nation's schools, according to Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers.

Gun rights advocates on Capitol Hill had no immediate comment. They will have to walk a tough road between pressure from the powerful NRA, backed by an army of passionate supporters, and outrage over the Sandy Hook deaths that has already swayed some in Congress to adjust their public views.

A CNN/ORC poll taken this week found 52 percent of Americans favor major restrictions on guns or making all guns illegal. Forty-six percent of people questioned said government and society can take action to prevent future gun violence, up 13 percentage points from two years ago in the wake of the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six and wounded then Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Since the Connecticut slayings, President Obama has demanded action against U.S. gun violence and has called on the NRA to join the effort. Moving quickly after several congressional gun-rights supporters said they would consider new legislation to control firearms, the president said this week he wants proposals that he can take to Congress next month.

Obama has already asked Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and to pass legislation that would stop people from purchasing firearms from private sellers without background checks. Obama also has indicated he wants Congress to pursue the possibility of limiting high-capacity firearms magazines.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said former President Bill Clinton called her with an offer to help get an assault weapons ban reinstated. Clinton signed such a ban into law in 1994, but it expired after 10 years.

Feinstein said she's not opposed to having armed guards at schools, but she called the NRA proposal a distraction from what she said was the real problem: "easy access to these killing machines" that are far "more powerful and lethal" than the guns that were banned under the old law.


Associated Press writers Andrew DeMillo in Little Rock, Ark., and Alicia A. Caldwell in Washington contributed to this report.

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Obama administration, Congress quietly let school security funds lapse......two Justice Department programs that had provided more than $200 million to schools for training, security equipment and police resources over the last decade weren't renewed in 2011 and 2012, and that a separate program that provided $800 million to put police officers inside the schools was ended a few years earlier.


-- Posted by mystery9 on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 11:17 AM

Who will pay for this? More taxes.

-- Posted by cw4 on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 11:22 AM

A great idea. Tax money that would be well spent. Our kids are worth it.

-- Posted by papermoon on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 11:51 AM

The Federal Government has no Constitutional right to have any involvement in our schools! Start from there, and our education system and its security would start to look up!

Obama, Geraldo Rivera, and other liberals are fools to think that re-instating the Assault Weapon ban will stop the next rampage. Columbine happened while the last ban was in effect. How did that law stop the criminal?!?!

If we can't trust the teachers and administrators with guns to protect our children, then we sure as heck can't trust them to TEACH our children.

And, FWIW, a motivated Adam Lanza with a knife and a stick could kill more students on a bus coming out of Jackson Middle School at 3:00pm than he did at Sandy Hook school.

But, you don't hear them screaming to ban assault knives!

Typical liberal foolishness and effort to control the masses. Freedom be damned in this country.

-- Posted by bbollmann on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 12:46 PM

The poor NRA they do not have a clue. Maybe they could pay for these armed guards they propose with the money they currently use to line the pockets of congressmen.

-- Posted by 3forone on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 1:02 PM

The NRA took a whole week to come up with this lame a## response. And in a nut shell blamed it on video games, movies. I don't blame you for not taking any questions. Are we also going to provide armed guards at the movie theaters? The only responsiable paragraph in this story is the last one!!!!!.

-- Posted by whathappenedhere on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 1:57 PM

@ whathappenedhere unlike gun control crazy advocates, the NRA waited a week to issue a statement out of respect for the families of the victims.

-- Posted by mystery9 on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 3:06 PM

It is clear from these remarks that there is no hope for sanity from the NRA. In fact, sense the 1920s, the NRA has gone from sort of the gun owners AAA, advocating sane gun control, and education, to a dangerous fringe group that is owned and operated by the gun industry. It is also clear that so many lawmakers are owned and operated by the NRA and gun industry, that a grass roots effort similar to MAD that counters drunk driving will be required to overcome this conspiracy. Lets get on with it; there is no turning back now.

-- Posted by foxtrot007 on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 4:43 PM

Adult video games, movies, and music, which are all labeled and rated as such, are not for kids.

Just like guns are not for kids.

If ignorant parents allow their children to be exposed to either before they're old enough to understand them, it's no one's fault but those parents.

-- Posted by the_eye on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 4:49 PM

If we unload some of the administrative people in our school systems we could afford all types of security gadgets and guards. Why do we need very highly paid superintendents, with a gaggle of asst superintendents, with a flock of administrative help and assistants. Schools have principals, associate principals, assistant principals, etc. etc.

Oh yeah, let's give the teachers guns - while there are very good teachers, there are also duds. Who do you think will want to carry the guns - the teachers concerned about education, or those who are in education because they are power seeking control freaks?

-- Posted by ParkerDaws on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 5:57 PM

Guns don't kill people...video games, movies, the mentally ill and the liberal media kill people. So we could ban assault weapons, which were designed to kill people, or we can strip away freedom of the press and individual liberties. Be careful what you wish for. Anyone out there ever prescribed an antidepressant (which btw are the most widely Rx medications in the country) or convicted of any alcohol related offense may come under fire.

-- Posted by SWBG on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 10:04 PM

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