NRA: 'Only Thing That Stops A Bad Guy With A Gun Is A Good Guy With A Gun'
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
Today also brought the first detailed response to the Newtown shootings from the nation's largest gun rights group, the National Rifle Association. At a media event here in Washington, the group's CEO took a defiant stance and took no questions. NRA leaders had promised meaningful contributions on how to prevent more mass killings. As NPR's Peter Overby reports, they recommended more, not fewer, guns.
PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre skipped the constitutional arguments for the Second Amendment. He was much more direct.
(SOUNDBITE OF NRA PRESS CONFERENCE)
WAYNE LAPIERRE: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.
OVERBY: He said the NRA wants a federal law immediately...
LAPIERRE: ...to appropriate whatever is necessary, to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation.
OVERBY: And the NRA rolled out its own, new program that would train retired police, military and others as voluntary school security officers. At the same time, LaPierre seemed to dismiss President Obama's new task force on school safet, and Capitol Hill discussions of new limits for guns and gun buyers. He said such legislation won't work. Banks, sport stadiums and politicians all get security guards, he said, but the tradition of unarmed schools leaves children vulnerable to genuine monsters.
LAPIERRE: Does anybody really believe that a next Adam Lanza isn't planning his attack on a school he's already identified, at this very moment?
OVERBY: And he said more ought to be done to thwart these monsters.
LAPIERRE: How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation's refusal to create an active, national database of the mentally ill?
OVERBY: Twice, protesters interrupted LaPierre.
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: The NRA has blood on its hands! Shame on the NRA! Ban assault weapons now!
OVERBY: He didn't respond, and guards evicted them. LaPierre portrayed the NRA as a truth seeker; as the media and others turn a blind eye to the rampant violence in movies, computer games and music videos.
LAPIERRE: Is the press, and the political class here in Washington, D.C., so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and American gun owners that you're willing to accept a world where real resistance to evil monsters is a lone, unarmed school principal?
OVERBY: Response from congressional Democrats came quickly. California Senator Dianne Feinstein plans to introduce a new ban on assault weapons. She said the NRA is engaged in delaying tactics.
SEN, DIANNE FEINSTEIN: It's a distraction from the availability of military-style assault weapons on our streets, in our schools, used at malls, used at workplaces, used in movie theaters.
OVERBY: NRA officials say they'll answer questions about their school security program starting next week.
Peter Overby, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.