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N.R.A. Calls for Armed Guards in Schools to Deter Violence

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  • N.R.A. Calls for Armed Guards in Schools to Deter Violence

    The National Rifle Association on Friday called for schools to be protected by armed guards as the best way to protect children from gun violence.

    The group, long the most vocal and influential organization generally opposing stricter regulation of firearms, said that steps other than gun control, including cracking down on criminals and fighting violence in the media and on video games, would be most effective.

    Wayne LaPierre, the group’s executive vice president, read a statement at a news conference but did not take questions. He also criticized violent video games and spoke of the need to deal more effectively with the mentally ill.

    Gun-free school zones identified by signs, he said, “tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to effect maximm mayhem with minimum risk.”

    If guns are used to protect banks, airports, and politicians, he asked, why is it “bad when it is used to protect our children in their schools?”

    “It’s not just our duty to protect them, it’s our right to protect them,” he said.

    During the news conference, which was broadcast live on multiple cable channels, protesters repeatedly interrupted, raised a banner saying “NRA killing our children” and shouting similar messages, such as “N.R.A. has blood on its hands” and “ban assault weapons now.”

    In the days immediately after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the N.R.A. remained largely silent as pressure mounted for stricter regulations of guns and other measures to confront violence.

    On Tuesday, it scheduled the news conference, saying that it is “prepared to offer meaningful contributions to make sure this never happens again.” But it offered no specifics.

    He accused the news media of being “consumed by hatred of the N.R.A.”

    The N.R.A. has about four million members, and exerts its influence on lawmakers through campaign contributions and by rating their votes on gun related legislation.

    According to polling data released on Thursday by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, public attitudes about gun control have shifted only modestly since the Newtown shootings. “Currently, 49 percent say it is more important to control gun ownership, while 42 percent say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns,” the center said. Five months ago, opinion was almost evenly divided on these questions; four years ago, a majority said they favored stricter gun control.

    On its Web site, the N.R.A. cites other polling, by Gallup. “Americans are most likely to say that an increased police presence at schools, increased government spending on mental health screening and treatment, and decreased depiction of gun violence in entertainment venues would be effective in preventing mass shootings at schools,” it says. “Americans rate the potential effectiveness of a ban on assault and semiautomatic guns as fourth on a list of six actions Gallup asked about.”

    Source: nytimes.com

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