The National Rifle Association maintained a firm stance on gun rights and revealed plans for what they have named the National School Shield Program during a much-anticipated news conference conducted by NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre in Washington D.C. Friday, December 21.
The National School Shield Program
After keeping silent for days out of respect for grieving families following the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, the NRA released a statement on Facebook saying “the NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”
LaPierre has detailed one such contribution, a model “National Shield Emergency Response Program” designed to equip schools with armed security as well as training programs for teachers and students. LaPierre said the NRA is prepared to provide a budget of “whatever scope the task requires.”
Former Arkansas Congressman Asa Hutchinson will spearhead the National School Shield Program drawing on his experience as a U.S. Attorney, Director of the Drug Enforcement Agency, and Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
The program will serve as a model for other security plans based on the most “up-to-date technical information from the foremost experts in their fields,” according to Hutchinson, who spoke at the event. He said the program will be made up of volunteers and that schools will be able to tweak the program based on their needs and that parents at the local level will be able to choose whether security personnel will be armed or not.
LaPierre questioned “media stigma” against guns during his speech, pointing out that important institutions and persons are guarded by armed personnel, such as banks, the president, office buildings and airports, but schools are not.
“Politicians pass laws for Gun-Free School Zones,” LaPierre said. “They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are their safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk…” but “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away or a minute away?”
Violent entertainment and protestors
LaPierre spoke out against violent video games and movies that he claims expose children to a massive amount of violence every year, stating that “a child growing up in America witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18.”
While organizers of the news event did not grant questions to be asked of the speakers at that time, journalists present in the room tried to get LaPierre to address two separate protestors who held up signs blaming the NRA for violence in the United States. LaPierre did not stray from his speech.
NRA President David Keene said the organization would not begin allowing personal interviews until Monday, December 24. The NRA plans to get the ball rolling on their School Shield plan immediately and hopes to begin implementation of its program by the time school children return from their holiday break in January.