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”

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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
    +3

    Comment number 440.

    In answer to Mr. LaPierre: I'd rather have the only guys with guns be highly trained and vetted cops than some kid whose vetting is that one of his relative's has an ID. Your arms race approach would put a gun in everyone's hand and $billions more in the hands of the industry you represent that buys elections and bad policy.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 439.

    God save America from the NRA, responsible for more citizen's deaths than any terrorist oganization.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 438.

    The extreme NRA have failed again to show any type of leadership on gun control.All guns cannot be banned under the constitution so what are they worried about.!!.What is being looked for is to control / limit extreme automatic weapons.These types of extreme weapons did not exist when the constitution was formed!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 437.

    Because of the way Americans are in general please don't expect anything to change for the better, the mighty dollar is more important than life to these savages. God Bless the Dollar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 436.

    Wayne LaPierre i see you as the bad guy and myself as the good guy. Its OK for me to shoot you then?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 435.

    I feel very sorry for the americans. not much they can do I think. It will take something of the scale of the 2 towers, 11/9 ( 9/11) attack to silence any powerful opposition. I suppose we should be surprised there arent more mass murders than there are, what with all the guns floating around?

  • rate this
    +66

    Comment number 434.

    Proliferation in arms will only cause more violence, arming teachers with guns or putting armed guards in schools will only cause the murderers to either change their target or arm themselves with more deadly weapons. As long as there are maniacs armed with easily available weapons there will be more instances of mass killings, you can't protect every street corner with an armed guard.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 433.

    "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"

    Written in 1791, 8 years after the war of independence. Without a shadow of a doubt, a clear statement of the undeniable right of any citizen to own as many automatic firearms and ammunition as he wants. Anything else would be unconstitutional......

  • Comment number 432.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 431.

    Ah of course - how logical. If we want to avoid more shootings in schools, let's have more guns there! Clearly adherence to the 2nd Amendment means the complete removal of guns from US society is impractical, but the US needs to realise that this Amendment was written in an era that doesn't reflect today's society and that any solution will require a fundamental change of mindset towards guns.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 430.

    Sad thing is, they already have armed police at my children's schools - sad because the district feels there is a need. They already had 3 in High School which was upped to 5 yesterday, and more today and our school is in a very 'nice' neighbourhood

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 429.

    Mr LaPierre wouldn't it be better if the bad guy does not have access to automatic,semi automatic weapons and only the good guys( security personnel, police, army,etc) who have the responsibility of protecting people have access to those mass killing machines...remember these design intent of assault weapon is killing many people in short time

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 428.

    Like nuclear weapons firearms cannot be uninvented. Hitler did not like the civilian population owning firearms and introduced regulation banning them. Over night he create a huge stockpile of illegally owned guns as people were not prepared to give them up.
    The media is guilty of glamourising guns, creating anti heros, providing more violence as audiences cease to be shocked

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 427.

    The US has observed a moment of silence for the 26 victims of the Connecticut school shooting, as a gun lobby group said who cares, we'll kill as many people as we want to. What a society the US is. Why should anyone else care when they don't. If they did they would do something about it. But as we know they never will.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 426.

    I am speechless! What a nightmare!
    I am trying to imagine if I were a teacher in US and asked to bear a weapon!
    Beyond imagination! In fact if I was a believer in the existence of such a thing as "hell", I think it should/could be a world where teachers would wear weapons.
    I can only pray for the USA and for the world!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 425.

    Nothing will change re. guns in the US

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 424.

    Wayne LAPierre of NRA..."the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun". I wonder if he can tell me, at what point and when does a "good guy" become a "bad guy". I presume that the 20yr old Adam Lanza was a "good guy" upto when? Who could have told that community that he had suddenly turned a "bad guy" with a gun and they needed to get a "good guy" with a gun to stop him?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 423.

    No one is approaching the issue from the right angle, in is not the guns that are the problem, it is the way Americans feel a need for them, that is the issue, unless the reasons why having everyone loaded to the hilt make sense disappear, nothing will change.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 422.

    In Canada gun owners must keep guns stored in a locked case unloaded. If Mrs. lanza had done that, this disaster could have been prevented.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 421.

    You have to ask why it took the NRA leadership a week to come out with a statement - they couldn't even immediately condemn the massacre of American children cowering as the gunman shot them repeatedly.

    The NRA is a disgrace -again, it took them a week to respond - their members should resign in disgust

 

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