Newtown shooting: Gun lobby defiant as US remembers

 

Wayne LaPierre, NRA: "Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns"

The US has observed a moment of silence for the 26 victims of the Connecticut school shooting, as a gun lobby group called for armed security at schools.

Bells in Newtown tolled 26 times, one week after 20 children and six adults died at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In Washington, the National Rifle Association called for "good guys" to be armed for "absolute protection".

Adam Lanza, 20, carried out the attack at 09:30 EST (14:30 GMT) after killing his mother. He later shot himself dead.

Funerals for those killed have taken place throughout the week, and continue in Newtown on Friday.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has asked people throughout the state to join the moment of silence, and churches in many other states also rang their bells 26 times.

The governor, with his deputies, marked the moment on the steps of Edmond Town Hall in Newtown.

NRA defiant

In Washington on Friday, influential National Rifle Association (NRA) broke a week-long silence with a robust defence of its pro-gun position.

Start Quote

This was an outpouring of outrage that would delight those who agree with the NRA. It was not a subtle appeal across the political spectrum, designed to make people stop and think that they have a point”

End Quote

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the NRA, criticised politicians who had "exploited" the tragedy in Newtown for "political gain" and took aim at laws designating schools as gun-free zones.

"They tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk," he said.

Mr LaPierre called for a national database of the mentally ill and blamed violent video games and films for portraying murder as a "way of life".

He spoke out against the media for demonising lawful gun owners, and for suggesting a ban on certain types of weapon would be effective.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," Mr LaPierre told reporters.

Congress should authorise funding for armed security in every school in the country, he said, adding that an "extraordinary corps" of trained professionals could be drawn from active and retired police officers, security professionals and firefighters around the country.

At the scene in Newtown

Governor Malley had called for a day of mourning. It seems the weather obliged. The rain has been pouring down for hours. When the moment of silence came at 09:30, the governor and the town's dignitaries stood huddled on the steps of the town hall - a pretty, quaint New England building. The rain and winds swirled around them.

Across the street the Episcopal church rang its bell 26 times. Further down main street, the employees of the local bank stood on the porch in silence. People stood stock still in the street and got drenched. The silence lasted for 10 minutes, which is how long it took Adam Lanza to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook elementary school just one week ago.

Mr LaPierre was interrupted twice by anti-gun protesters carrying banners and declaring that the NRA had "blood on its hands".

Afterwards, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is an advocate for tighter gun control laws, said the NRA's response was "a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe".

The guns used in the shooting had been legally bought by the gunman's mother, Nancy Lanza.

The shooting has seen some pro-gun congressmen say the mass shooting has prompted them to change their views on whether guns should be regulated more strictly in the US.

Meanwhile California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has been an advocate for tighter gun laws, said she would introduce new legislation when Congress meets for the first time in the new year.

But there is no bipartisan consensus on the issue, with others backing the NRA line that teachers in schools should be armed in order to better defend students if a shooting occurs.

Biden tasked

In Connecticut, Governor Malloy has called Friday a "day of mourning" and invited the governor of other states to participate in the acts of remembrance.

Protests during the NRA news conference in Washington

President Barack Obama said he would observe the tribute to the shooting victims privately.

Since the mass shooting, the Obama administration has indicated that it will look for ways to tighten gun laws in the wake of the attack.

Vice-President Joe Biden has been assigned to lead the response to the Sandy Hook massacre, and Mr Obama has demanded a set of "concrete proposals" within a month.

Speaker of the House John Boehner has said the Republican-controlled chamber would consider new proposals.

Mr Obama has said he would support reinstating an assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004.

The White House has also suggested the president would back other gun control measures on high-capacity ammunition clips and closing loopholes that allow people to buy guns without background checks.

 

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  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 60.

    America is so deeply wedded or should it be welded that it cannot see the barrel for the trees. The US looks to be so out of sync with many other advanced countries and regrettably having an open gun culture does push up the murder rates. Can much now be done in the US to reduce the homicide rates since the country is already awash in lethal weapons?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 59.

    So is that why we've such high rates of gun crime in the UK compared to the US, because all our good guys are unarmed?

    No, we have such low rates of gun crime because the bag guys arn't armed either.

    The NRAs response would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 58.

    After reading this, it would have been better if the world had ended today.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 57.

    "NRA Calls for Armed Officers in Schools"................Obviously the cure for poison is to drink from the same bottle...........Monkey and Zoo come to mind...

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 56.

    They've taken the phrase 'fight fire with fire' a bit literally havent they! Give everyone a gun and everyone will be protected but noone will be safe.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 55.

    The NRA suggest EVERY SCHOOL has an armed guard!!??
    So,are you saying that any other public gathering either private or public above a certain number as yet undefined should also have/fund an armed guard,if not,what about all the shootings that don't occur at schools!?
    It's the usual smoke screen,anything to hold on to their (Hobbit Voice) "PRECIOUS" weapons!
    Save $$$,outlaw auto weapons,simple!

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 54.

    He blames everything for these shootings except for the easy access to semi-automatic weapons! The constitution states a right to bear arms, it doesn't specify what type. If they really need to own a gun for self defence, what's wrong with a hand gun? why do you need weapons used by soldiers that are designed specifically for wiping out a mass of people?!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 53.

    There are no good guys with guns, only killers and killings will go on like this one whilst they still have gun clubs and people who run these clubs shouting down the people who want a ban on the gun culture they have.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 52.

    The NRA is the same organisation that argued - and won - that people on the terrorist watch list should still be allowed to freely purchase guns. They don't care about citizens or people lives, they care about the money lebowski.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 51.

    I thought Chris Morris (The Day Today/Brasseye) was back with some ludicrous satire when I read that giving guns to teachers/school employees would be a reasoned response to gun crime in US schools (mass murder of children etc).But no. It's those brave, socially repsonsible NRA types once again trawling their genius for a solution. Aww, do the big boys want to take your toys away? RIP the victims

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 50.

    I expected gun laws with teeth after Columbine. Tragic it has taken this long, but I believe 2012 is a watershed moment. AZ shooting at a supermarket by Loughner (gunning for Congresswoman); Aurora cinema shooting by Holmes;now this -- the last straw -- 20 tiny precious children,shredded with combat ammo.They were too young to have any say in anything.It's a defining moment:Changes In Order.Do It!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 49.

    So.... the answer to gun crimes in schools, is to put more guns in schools ?
    Mmmmmm what's wrong with this picture ?

  • rate this
    -46

    Comment number 48.

    23. David
    Some members of the public are not even safe with shopping trolleys never mind fully automatic weapons.

    ==================

    Fully automatic firearms played no part in last week's tragedy & have been highly regulated since 1936.
    The rifle used complied with Connecticut's "Assault Weapon Ban" & was semi automatic.
    Reforming mental health care would do more to save lives than gun laws.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 47.

    There are over 130,000 schools in the US. If such awful attacks are happening as often as twice a year in the country then an individual school is attacked less than once every 65,000 years. The average gun in America is used in a fatal shooting (Over 50% as suicides) once every 4,000 years so you do not want to have armed guards at schools. Defensive killings are less than 2% of killings.

  • rate this
    +89

    Comment number 46.

    Even worse than LaPierre's comments is the news that 53% of Americans support his proposal to have a gunman - sorry, a good guy with a gun - in every school. God help America.

  • rate this
    -101

    Comment number 45.

    Teachers trained to use firearms would have prevented the massacre. The NRA, horrible as they are, are right.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 44.

    The crazies who commit these crimes almost always kill themselves after their rampage - it's a suicide mission so I dont see how the presence of armed guards will deter them. However, this all increases the risk of more innocents being caught in a school gun battle or some over-zealous guard shooting off by accident or in error and killing someone who is not actually a threat.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 43.

    Even if they banned all guns tomorrow the fact that they were so readily available means that they will always be there so how do you get rid of them? It's a horrible situation but its madness to suggest the gun problem can be solved by more guns. A firefight in a classroom is a terrifying thought

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 42.

    I'll start to believe that video games create violent killings sprees the day someone gets arrested for killing a pig by catapulting a bird at it.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 41.

    Wayne LaPierre and your stupid mates are idiots

 

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