Tragedies like the one in Newtown’s Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School a week ago today are the fault of Hollywood, the media and violent video games, not the country’s virulent gun culture, and the solution is to put more guns in the schools, insisted the head of the National Rifle Association.
Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s CEO, defiantly declared making schools “gun free zones” is an invitation to more slaughters like the ones we’ve seen so often, and he called for posting armed guards in every school in the country.
Republican governors of Virginia and Texas, both said to be 2016 presidential aspirants, have already endorsed the idea, and some gun advocates in Congress have called for arming teachers.
There may be a national sentiment to do something to curb gun violence, but the NRA has some loyal followers on Capitol Hill prepared to come to its defense.
The man who will chair any hearings on legislation coming out of the President’s task force on gun violence has already announced his opposition. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R) of Virginia, the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is an NRA stalwart, repeatedly endorsed by the group and given its highest rating, said he will listen to suggestions from the administration and others “but gun control is not going to be something that I would support.”
And don’t look for Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Republicans to allow a vote on any legislation, especially if it’s an Obama priority. That has been his consistent practice, often seeming to oppose administration-backed measures more out of spite than principle, and the Senate minority leader needs only 41 votes to kill any reforms the task force recommends.
In a Friday press conference, which LaPierre had billed as offering “meaningful contributions” to the spreading plague of violence, and in which he refused to answer any questions, the NRA chief took shots at the entertainment industry, the media and politicians who don’t march in lockstep with the NRA. He had nothing constructive to say about the fact there are more than 300 million guns in this country and the murder rate here is the highest of any western democracy.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the press conference “a shameful evasion” of the national gun crisis and said LaPierre only “offered a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe.”
The Violence Policy Center, an anti-gun organization, debunked the centerpiece of LaPierre’s message by pointing out that two armed guards were on duty at Columbine High School were unable to stop a pair of students from killing 15 people.
This should help the further erosion of NRA’s power in Congress. LaPierre has repeatedly and bitterly attacked President Obama as having “a deep-rooted hatred of firearm freedoms,” wanting to “erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights” and being behind a United Nations conspiracy to force Americans to ” turn over your personal protection and your firearms to the government.”
You’ll know it’s happening when the black helicopters begin circling your house.