In the aftermath of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut just one week ago, in which 20 elementary children were shot and killed by a 20-year old gunman who took his life at the scene, the familiar battle lines between pro- and anti-gun advocates have emerged, as many predicted they would happen.
NRA: Good guys with guns
On Friday, a full week after the incident took place and during which time funerals for the fallen have continued to scar the nation's consciousness, Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, took to the airwaves, calling on Congress to appropriate money now to put armed guards in every school and advocated school protection programs. The NRA, he said, will be planning a "multi-faceted" safety program for America's schools.
He said the only way to stop a "bad guy with a gun" is to have a "good guy with a gun."
As the controversy over whether automatic or semi-automatic weapons should continue to be sold as they are now, in which 40 percent of gun sales take place with no background check on the buyer, President Obama has assigned Vice President Joe Biden to convene meetings with law enforcement, school officials, pro- and anti-gun groups, parents and others in order to find a workable solution to the proliferation of guns in America that with increasing regularity results in tragic and horrific slayings by mentally trouble souls who use handguns and military style weapons to enact their demented drives.
President Obams wants Mr. Biden to have his work done by January, and promised to include the issue in his State of the Union Address in February.
At a press event in Washington today, LaPierre said U.S. Society has left children "utterly defenseless" and argued that it's possible 26 lives might have been saved if there had been armed guards at Sandy Hook Elementary School, CNN reported. He asked, "Can't we afford to put a police officer in every single school?"
"For all the noise and anger directed at us (NRA) ... nobody has addressed the most important, pressing and immediate question we face: How do we protect our children right now ... in a way that we know works," he said. Appearing on TV Friday morning, LaPierre said that violent crime is increasing in the U.S. due to a lack of will to prosecute such acts and condemned violent video games as a factor in the increase of crime. He placed blame on media conglomerates, saying their products deliver "a toxic mix" of criminality "into our homes" around the clock. But corporate owners and stockholders act as "silent enablers." He said the media has "demonized gun owners," CNN reported.
NRA has blood on its hands
Claiming media outlets report "untrue" claims about firearms, he added, "They don't know what they are talking about." LaPierre was confronted by one protester who brandished a banner that read: "The NRA has blood on its hands."
Pro-gun advocates have called for teachers to be armed to prevent future incidents. National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten reacted to proposals by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, and William Bennett to arm teachers as a way to prevent school violence.
"Our duty to every child is to provide safe and secure public schools. That is the vow we take as educators. It is both astounding and disturbing that following this tragedy, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, Bill Bennett, and other politicians and pundits have taken to the airwaves to call for arming our teachers. As the rest of the country debates how to keep guns out of schools, some are actually proposing bringing more guns in, turning our educators into objects of fear and increasing the danger in our schools.
"Guns have no place in our schools. Period. We must do everything we can to reduce the possibility of any gunfire in schools, and concentrate on ways to keep all guns off school property and ensure the safety of children and school employees.
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