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Washington (AP) — The nation's largest gun-rights lobby called Friday for armed police officers to be posted in every American school to stop the next killer "waiting in the wings."
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.
"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.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal issued a statement criticizing LaPierre's remarks following the press conference.
“The NRA’s statement is sadly and shamefully inadequate – calling for more guns and rejecting real action against gun violence. At a defining, historic moment, demanding courageous leadership, the NRA has declined to step forward as a credible and constructive partner.
“The NRA's proposal for more armed guards in schools may be helpful in some instances, but it falls far short of the strong, serious, comprehensive action needed to stop the kind of horrific tragedy that occurred one week ago in Newtown.
“The American people are demanding real change to make our nation safe, and the NRA’s proposals fail to offer any real protection from violence. NRA members in Connecticut are writing and calling me to say that the NRA does not speak for them, and that they want real change. The Newtown tragedy is a call to action and the NRA has failed to answer that call.
“First, we need to do something to effectively ban assault weapons of the kind used by the Newtown killer. Weapons designed for killing and maiming human beings should not be for sale today in America. Second, we must ban high-capacity magazines also involved in this mass murder. No real hunter uses or needs 30-round clips and no self-defense situation is served by them. Third, we should ensure that all firearm sales involve a background check, including guns that are not sold by licensed dealers – and that those checks, wherever they’re done, are thorough and comprehensive. Better mental health services and treatment, and stronger support and resources for enforcement of existing and new laws, must also be part of a common sense solution.
"There is no single, simple solution. I hope for a dialogue with all sides in this discussion that are committed to sensible, common-sense measures, but the NRA will have to alter its approach to be taken seriously in this national debate."
The NRA has proposed stationing an armed officer in every U.S. school as a way to defend against mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Do you support the NRA's proposal?
Yes, it's a sensible plan. An armed officer would serve as a deterrent and he or she would be able to stop an active gunman before more lives were lost.
No, I'm disappointed the NRA didn't come out with any serious suggestions.
Armed officers would help, but we also need stronger gun control laws.
Number of votes: 2072