The National Rifle Association today called to arm schools and blamed the entertainment industry, politicians and news media for enabling a society prone to gun violence, while for the first time addressing the horrrific shootings in Newtown, Conn., last week.
At a press conference in Washington, D.C., that was twice interrupted by anti-NRA protesters, the group's CEO, Wayne LaPierre, repeatedly said society had too many "monsters" on the streets as he pleaded for government officials to put armed guards either in or very near schools.
"Does anyone believe that the next [Newtown gunman] Adam Lanza is planning his attack on a school he’s already identified at this very moment?" he said. "Every school in America needs to put these security forces in place right now."
LaPierre said armed officials protect politicians, government buildings and banks, but not school children. "We leave them everyday utterly defenseless. And monsters of the day know it, and they exploit it," he said. "That must change now."
LaPierre suggested Beltway politicians—including President Barack Obama—should have acted with school security measures before Newtown. The group CEO noted that politicians had failed to create a national database of the mentally ill. He pointed to video game Mortal Kombat, 1990s film Natural Born Killers and alluded to rap music and the media as elements of the marketplace that he said are essentially getting off the hook.
In fact, at one point when addressing the entertainment industry, LaPierre called the violent nature of some shows and games as "the filthiest form of pornography."
LaPierre also suggested repeatedly that natural disasters like hurricanes and man-made ones like terrorists attacks could lead to more mass violence.
The NRA brought a plan to protect schools, too, introducing a program called the National School Shield Program to be led by former Department of Homeland Security official Asa Hutchinson. The program will provide security training and protect schools and teachers, Hutchinson said, while leaning on non-government resources like volunteers and retired police officers to do so. No additional information about what this may specifically entail was immediately available.
The NRA, which had been silent since the Connecticut shootings on Dec. 14, did so out of respect to the victims' families, LaPierre said.
The press event did not include a question-and-answer session. The NRA plans to address the news media's questions next week.