MORE guns in schools: NRA’s plan to thwart the next Lanza

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Head of lobby group demands Congress do ‘everything necessary’ to put armed guards in classroom

New York

For a week it was largely silent. But yesterday the National Rifle Association – and its belligerent CEO Wayne LaPierre – came out all guns blazing. In its first meaningful response to the Newtown massacre, America’s largest pro-gun lobby group offered its solution to deaths in the classroom: armed guards in every school. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with gun,” Mr LaPierre said.

Just hours after church bells across the country tolled 26 times in remembrance of the 20 children and six adults gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, the head of the NRA took to the podium to blame the media for demonising gun owners and disregarding the “callous and corrupt shadow industry that sells violence against its own people through vicious, violent video games”. The press, he insisted, was perpetuating “the notion that one more gun ban or one more law imposed on peaceable, lawful people will protect us where 20,000 other laws have failed.”

Interrupted twice by protesters who had sneaked into the audience in Washington to raise anti-NRA banners, Mr LaPierre spoke in terms that might find favour with the hardcore of his association’s 4.3 million-strong membership. Just 24 hours after President Obama ordered a task force led by Vice-President Joe Biden to come up with ways to reform the nation’s gun-control laws, Mr LaPierre made his own plea – that Congress “act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary” to put armed guards in schools.

Moments after a protester shouting ‘The NRA has blood its hands!” was led out by security, Mr LaPierre, who did not take questions from the assembled reporters, chided the media for reflexively adopting an anti-gun stance. “I can imagine the shocking headlines you’ll print tomorrow. ‘More guns,’ you’ll claim, ‘are the NRA’s answer to everything.’ Your implication will be that guns are evil and have no place in society, much less in our schools,” he said.

“But since when did ‘gun’ automatically become a bad word?” he continued. “A gun in the hands of a Secret Service agent protecting our President isn’t a bad word. A gun in the hands of a soldier protecting the USA isn’t a bad word.”

The NRA’s attempt to draw an equivalence between national security and the arming of schools drew a sharp response from Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. “I don’t even know where to begin,” he told MSNBC. “As a supporter of the Second Amendment [which guarantees Americans the right to bear arms] and a supporter of the NRA – even though I’m not a member – I just found it very haunting and very disturbing that our country now is talking about arming our teachers and our principals in classrooms.”

Meanwhile, the Violence Policy Centre, a not-for-profit group which campaigns for a reduction in gun violence, pointed out that Columbine High School, the site of the infamous massacre that left 15 dead in 1999, did in fact have armed guards on site when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire. “[The guards] twice engaged and fired at Eric Harris in an effort to stop the shooting but were unsuccessful because they were outgunned by the assault weapons wielded by the two teens,” Josh Sugarmann, the executive director of the centre said.

As Mr LaPierre was winding up his address news began to filter through about another shooting in Altoona, Pennsylvania, that left four people dead and three State Troopers injured. For the anti-gun lobby this would be further proof that there are too many guns on the streets of America. But no doubt Wayne LaPierre would have felt it justified his call to arms.

Guns of Choice: The top picks

The number of guns sold in the US each year is not recorded. However, each time somebody buys a gun, the cashier is legally obliged to perform an instant criminal  background check. More than 16.8 million such checks were  performed in the first 11 months of 2012.

America’s most popular civilian firearms include:

Bushmaster AR-15: The semi-automatic assault weapon used by Adam Lanza  in the Newtown shootings is a variant on the US army’s standard issue M4. 1.5 million have been built in the past five years, one for every 209 Americans.

Glock 17: Since the first generation Glock was brought to market in 1982, more than 2.5 million have been manufactured. The semi-automatic pistol is now the handgun of choice for US law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA and US Marshals Service.

Remington Model 870 Pump-Action Shotgun: The bestselling shotgun in history, 10 million Remington 870 have been produced since 1950. They are favoured by hunters and sportsmen as well as law enforcement agencies and soldiers.

Smith & Wesson Model 10: The iconic six-shot revolver has been in production since 1899, and is the most popular handgun of its kind of the 20th Century, with more than six million manufactured in all.

In his own words: Lapierre’s speech

While some have tried to exploit tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectably silent. Now, we must speak for the safety of our nation’s children.

Politicians pass laws for gun-free school zones. 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.

How many more copycats are waiting in the wings? Rather than face their own moral failings the media demonise lawful guns.

It’s now time for us to assume responsibility for our schools. The only way – the only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. And the NRA is ready, willing and uniquely qualified to help.

The NRA is gonna bring all its knowledge, all its dedication and all its resources to develop a model national schools shield emergency response programme for every school in America that wants it. From armed security to building design and access control, to information technology, to student and teacher training, this programme will be developed by the best experts in the field … with a budget provided by the NRA of whatever scope the task requires.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?