*Several hours after a national moment of silence was observed for those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, the National Rifle Association made its first public comments about the tragedy, suggesting armed faculty and teachers could have prevented the shootings and calling on every school in the nation to have armed police guards stationed on the premises.
The group’s top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, said at the Washington news conference, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
LaPierre said the NRA would create the National School Shield program, which will be led by former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.).
“I call on Congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation, and to do it now,” LaPierre said. He also blamed the media and video game industry for glorifying violence.
“Because of all the noise and anger directed at us over the past week no one, nobody has addressed the most important pressing and immediate question we face, how do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works,” LaPierre said. “Politicians pass laws for gun free school zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. 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.”
LaPierre did not take any questions from the press. He also remained silent as protesters from the female anti-war group Code Pink disrupted the speech twice with banners that read “NRA Killing Our Kids” and shouts against the organization.
The 4.3 million-member National Rifle Association largely disappeared from public debate after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., choosing atypical silence as a strategy as the nation sought answers after the rampage. The NRA took down its Facebook page and kept silent on Twitter, reports the Associated Press.
The group has since re-activated its Facebook account – it has 1.7 million members – and its Twitter feed now warns supporters that “President Obama supports gun control measures, including reinstating an assault weapons ban.” The group also announced that LaPierre planned to appear Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program.
This morning at 9:30 ET, a national moment of silence at the urging of Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy was marked in Newtown with church bells chime 26 times, once for each of the victims. President Obama observed the moment of silence privately from Washington.