The National Rifle Association (NRA) broke its silence last week and said it was saddened and horrified with what happened in regards to the shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. On Friday, at the NRA press conference, the group's vice-president & CEO Wayne LaPierre spoke out defiant against the notion of more gun control legislation. He talked about how it takes a “good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy” with a gun. LaPierre said that armed guards needed to be at all schools across the United States. He said that the NRA will come up with its solution and the initiative would be lead by former GOP Representative Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas.
The group known as CREDO had demonstrated outside the area where the NRA held its press conference. One protester points out that more kids dying of gun violence than soldiers dying in the wars in the Middle East. Another called the NRA a lobby group for the gun industry.
Response has been mixed as the statement has empowered both gun-control and pro-gun advocates. In this respect, it shows that the gun debate is going to get serious and heated. The Wall Street Journal talked with Richard Feldman who is a former official with the NRA. Feldman agreed with what LaPierre said saying that you have to “fight force with force.”
Today, LaPierre was a guest on NBC's “Meet the Press” where he sparred with show host David Gregory in regards to guns. When talking on Meet the Press, LaPierre said that he wasn't interested in joining the task force
set up by United States President Barack Obama and VP Joe Biden. LaPierre, citing his reasons, said that he's not interested in working in a group that's comprised of people who have done nothing but try to destroy the 2nd Amendment for the last two decades. In short, LaPierre “stuck to his guns” on this one.
Furthermore, LaPierre said that the NRA will combat any new gun restriction bills that are introduced to Congress. Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), last week, talked about immediately introducing new gun control legislation on the first day the 113th US Congress convenes. LaPierre said that he won't let the American people lose the 2nd Amendment.
In terms of high-capacity ammo limits, LaPierre said that doing so wouldn't stop mass shootings. He also attacked the notion of putting back the ban on assault weapons. LaPierre called it “false legislation built upon lies.”
LaPierre also responded to media outlets calling him “crazy.” He was willing to be called that
if it meant children would be safe with armed officers and security guards around. In further defense of his response, LaPierre is asking Congress to fund putting police officers in each school. Furthermore, LaPierre talked about getting former military and law enforcement
as the school volunteer guards. Also, he pointed out that there are plenty of federal gun laws that aren't even enforced.
He also made a comment that sparked criticism from the media. LaPierre said that most of the media in the country have armed guards
. That comment was met with criticism with a touch of sarcasm from reporters who took to Twitter.
While the focus has been on LaPierre, he wasn't the only one to appear on TV earlier today. David Keene, the NRA's President, appeared on CBS' “Face the Nation” where he sparred with host Bob Schieffer. Keene said that the NRA's policies had nothing to do with what happened with the shootings at Sandy Hook.
In short the NRA is sticking to its guns. Of course, there is more criticism directed towards the NRA as a result. However, there are arguments that balance out both sides.
In an op-ed on Oregon Live, by Leonard Pitts Jr., both sides are comprised of very decent and responsible individuals. He calls the people who enjoy hunting for sport and sustenance the most decent gun owners around. At the same time, on the other side, there are decent people who feel that felons should not have access to firearms. The main point of the op-ed that the author is writing is that too many people have guns who shouldn't have access to guns
in the first place.
An op-ed on New Jersey, by Carole Stiller, calls forth reasoning that the 2nd Amendment and sensible gun laws are able to coexist with each other
. Stiller is a member of the Million Mom March and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
The website called Boing Boing posted a copy of former United States President George H.W. Bush's letter of resignation
as a member of the NRA. This was a counter-response to the response LaPierre gave back during the Oklahoma City bombing. Bush Sr. talked about how one person who served in his security detail was killed in the bombing. The comment that LaPierre made about the victims didn't bode well with Bush Sr.
On ABC's “This Week,” it was a field day against the NRA
. GOP political consultant Matthew Dowd went on the offensive against LaPierre. Also in the panel was New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker D-Newark. Dowd was hoping that LaPierre would say he stuck with the dogmatic positions for too long. Also, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist was part of the panel. Norquist is part of the NRA board and is the president of Americans for Tax Reform.
To Norquist, the idea of armed guards was reasonable. He pointed out that New Yorkers didn't go after the idea when it was presented by former US President Bill Clinton. Norquist said that the NRA was wise to be silent before responding. He said the 1st and 2nd Amendments need to be protected. Booker called forth to going to the “pragmatic centers.”
Celebrity Jesse James came out in support for LaPierre's proposal
. James talks about witnessing so many shootings to the point where having a gun made him feel safe. He talked about California, though having strict gun laws, having a high death rate. Also, James urged other members to join the NRA.
Senator-designate Tim Scott (R-SC), temporarily appointed by GOP Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, was also a guest on Face the Nation. When speaking, Scott is keeping his options open
and looking forward to the proposals by LaPierre and the committee headed by VP Biden. While he was open, Scott didn't endorse either plan yet.
Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin accused “anti-gun liberals” of demonizing the NRA.
The NRA is still receiving support. However, the NRA still has its share of criticism to deal with. Debra Maggart, the former GOP chairwoman of the Tennessee House of Representatives, accused the NRA of being bullies
. She talked about how the group uses bully tactics that keeps legislators from talking about the merits of gun legislation.
Reverend Al Sharpton, an MSNBC contributor, said that he will protest against the gun lobby. He called LaPierre's proposal as “asinine
CNN Reports that Republicans are hesitant to give their support to LaPierre's proposal; at the same time, there's little common ground to have with the Democrats. GOP Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was skeptical about more gun control laws
and the reinstating of the assault weapons ban. Graham said that neither armed guards nor a ban on assault weapon worked while pointing out the Columbine shooting.
Republicans agree that banning assault weapons aren't the solution. GOP Representative Jason Chaffetz expressed his concern about arming educators. He talked about having science teachers who couldn't “negotiate a Bunsen burner.” In that case, he was probably saying the teachers weren't able to work a Bunsen burner.
According to a recent poll result reported by the Washington Post, people that own guns are not one cohesive unit
. In short, gun owners are divided on the gun issue. Also, the report finishes by saying that LaPierre does not speak for all gun owners.