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.

Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Sport
Jose Mourinho restrains his assistant manager Rui Faria, Fabio Borini celebrates his winning penalty and Connor Wickham equalises for Sunderland
sportChelsea 1 Sunderland 2: Deafeat is extra bitter as former Chelsea player Fabio Borini scores late penalty to seal victory
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
News
Brand said he
people
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit