National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called on Congress Friday to place an armed police officer in every school nationwide as early as January 2, even as the country is about to fall off the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ at year’s end.
In response to the Newtown shooting last Friday and the subsequent scrutiny of the NRA’s silence and pro-gun policies, the NRA held a press conference at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. Friday morning to lay out its plan to combat school shootings in America.
In his remarks LaPierre likened the need for placing armed officials at American schools to how Americans protect their other prized assets and pointed out that security guards man many other public buildings such as airports and sports arenas.
“We care about our money, so we protect our banks with armed guards,” he said. “Yet when it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family – our children – we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and predators of this world know it and exploit it. That must change now!”
LaPierre also called for an “active national database of the mentally ill” to be created in the hopes that it would prevent individuals like Adam Lanza – the Newtown shooter – from having access to guns. He noted that violent crime in the U.S. has increased for the first time in 19 years while federal gun prosecutions are down 40 percent to its lowest level in decades.
Stationing an armed police officer at every American school was only one part of the NRA’s larger plan – the National School Shield Program – to protect America’s schools. The National School Shield Program, which will be spearheaded by former Congressman Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) and funded by the NRA, will bring together security and defense experts to develop a template for school safety programs that individual schools can adopt and modify as needed free of charge.
“If we truly cherish our kids more than our money or our celebrities, we must give them the greatest level of protection possible and the security that is only available with a properly trained, armed good guy.”
While LaPierre held off answering questions from the media, he did manage to take a few potshots at the fourth estate, calling it “a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people.”
“Too many in our national media…their corporate owners…and their stockholders…act as silent enablers, if not co-conspirators,” he said. “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.”
The NRA has remained largely silent in the days following the Newtown shooting while many proponents of gun bans, including the President, have called for new assault weapons ban legislation in the next Congress. On Wednesday the President announced the creation of a interagency task force, headed by Vice President Joe Biden, focused on studying and proposing new gun control and mental health laws. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has also announced that she will introduce legislation next month that will ban assault weapons and further restrict gun sales across the country.
The full text of LaPierre’s statement can be found here.