NRA calls for armed police officer in every school

WASHINGTON - December 21, 2012

The National Rifle Association broke its silence Friday on last week's shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 children and staff dead.

The group's top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, said at a Washington news conference that "the next Adam Lanza," the man responsible for last week's mayhem, is planning an attack on another school.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre said.

He blamed video games, movies and music videos for exposing children to a violent culture day in and day out.

Superintendent of Collingswood and Oaklyn, New Jersey public schools, Dr. Scott Oswald says he does not believe armed guards in schools is the answer, nor does it send the right message to our children.

"If someone's coming at me with a gun, certainly I'd want to be able to protect myself or have someone nearby protect me, but my bigger question is, why is that person coming at me with a gun?" he said.

Getting to the root of the issue is of the utmost importance to Oswald and others.

"Gun control starts with responsible people," said Darnell Shell.

"I think there are deeper issues that aren't being dealt with in homes and with families," said Shana Baloche. "You've got churches and other aspects and ones that could be helpful in dealing with those issues than just 'stick a gun in the door'."

"Putting police officers in schools, I think there is better use of those resources," said John Brooks.

But people like Norma Baloche of Mt. Airy say policing our schools could be worth a try.

"I'm open to solving it, and we have to look at all the different aspects of solving this problem so we don't have situations like that again," she said.

Philadelphia FOP President John McNesby is against the plan. He questions how we could afford it, and argues that gun control largely depends on legislation.

"A lot of it lies in Harrisburg and Washington to limit some of these guns," McNesby said.

"In a race to the bottom, many conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate, and offend every standard of civilized society, by bringing an even more toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty right into our homes," LaPierre said.

He refused to take any questions after speaking. Still, though security was tight, two protesters were able to interrupt LaPierre's speech, holding up signs that blamed the NRA for killing children. Both were escorted out, shouting that guns in schools are not the answer.

More than a dozen security officers checked media credentials at various checkpoints and patrolled the hotel ballroom.

LaPierre announced that former Rep. Asa Hutchison, R-Ark., will lead an NRA program that will develop a model security plan for schools that relies on armed volunteers.

The 4.3 million-member NRA 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 temporarily took down its Facebook page and kept quiet on Twitter.

Since the slayings, President Barack Obama has demanded "real action, right now" against U.S. gun violence and called on the NRA to join the effort. Moving quickly after several congressional gun-rights supporters said they would consider new legislation to control firearms, the president said this week he wants proposals to reduce gun violence that he can take to Congress by January.

Obama has already asked Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and pass legislation that would stop people from purchasing firearms from private sellers without a background check. Obama also has indicated he wants Congress to pursue the possibility of limiting high-capacity magazines.

The universal feeling is that a lot needs to be done to prevent future mass shootings. The question of the day, one week after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, is where do we start? And what is the most effective solution?

Copyright © 2024 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.