(AP/ABC7) - In a speech twice interrupted by protesters with banners, National Rifle Association CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called for an armed police officer in every school and the formation of a national "school shield" program Friday.
LaPierre's speech, which represented the nation's largest gun-rights lobby, is calling for armed police officers to be posted in every American school to stop the next killer "waiting in the wings." But that worries some parents.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said LaPierre during the press conference.
The NRA broke its silence on last week's shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 children and staff dead.
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.
“I have faith in society that they were better than that,” says Jack Anthony, a gun control advocate. “I know we’re better than that.”
More than a dozen security officers checked media credentials at various checkpoints and patrolled the hotel ballroom.
In a statement released this past Tuesday, the NRA said it was "shocked and saddened" by the Newtown, Conn. shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The organization said it was prepared to make "meaningful contributions" to make sure things like it never happened again.
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.
Armed school guards idea frightens some parents
Instead of comforting them, the call for armed guards in all U.S. schools within the next two weeks frightens some parents.
“It won’t be a school anymore. It’s like a prison, so you don’t want that,” says Anupama Kothari, a parent.
“We definitely need more protection in our schools. I understand what he’s saying, but it doesn’t mean we need armed guards at our schools," says Tighe Barry, a gun control advocate.
Many schools in the area, especially high schools, already have police officers on site during the school day. Angel Frye thinks the NRA’s suggestion could provide added protection.
“I agree, as long as it’s a law enforcement officer or something like that,” she says.