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

    Comment number 500.

    Thats all they can come up with...?
    GLAD I am not an American, there is NOTHING to be proud of at all... as for world respect... that just went out the window....

  • rate this

    Comment number 499.

    I've been living over here for 3 years and there is so much to like, yet this from the NRA makes you realise how screwed up it can be. How many supporters of the gun lobby are also the anti-abortion pro life supporters? Dont they realise the contradiction?

  • rate this

    Comment number 498.

    Does anyone yet know, was this latest gunman on prescribed medication for depression, as I read a number of the previous US mass killers have been?

  • rate this

    Comment number 497.

    There are too many idiots who have guns, and who won't give them up. The level of debate is "I have a gun, it's mine and you cannot take it off of me, so there".
    The NRA's cynical stance is sickening. The lack of support for people with mental sickness is just a tragedy that going to get worse.
    The US is still stuck in the 19th century. Leave them to it, I say.The future is Asia anyhow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 496.

    Does the NRA care about the American people or does it care about the profits of arms manufacturers & traders?

  • rate this

    Comment number 495.

    *sigh* - the amount of 'what-if' posters is very distressing. The sheer lack of faith in humanity expressed is only mirrored by the very sentiments. Does a bus driver have a bad day and run down children outside a school? Does a pen-maker have a bad day and stab his co-workers with pens?? No. So why would a teacher do the same with a gun? Treat these criminals as psychos. Not an every day man.

  • rate this

    Comment number 494.

    The culture of fear fuels the gun industry in the USA; the fear that ANYBODY could be carrying a gun...

    If I moved there, I would probably crack sooner or later and buy a gun, just to feel safe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 493.

    Yes lets arm teachers with guns and hope they don't have a bad day and take out half the class. Then we'll get the NRA wanting to arm kids to make sure they can defend themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 492.

    Changing the mindset of a nation isn't easy, but it has been done. Smoking went from a communal habit to a nuisance to a vice thanks to continuous adverse publicity backed up by ever increasing regulation. Pictures of slaughtered bodies on bullet boxes might be going too far (possibly) but I'm sure the Ad industry can come up with something "The biggest guns are owned by the smallest sex organs"?

  • rate this

    Comment number 491.

    As a parent in America; I agree with the call for armed guards in schools; the events of this year alone has proven that it's needed. But the NRA have basically blamed everyone else and taken no responsibly for the amount of guns in general circulation. There is clearly a problem when in the US; almost 100k people are shot every year; tighter gun controls are needed as the US will never ban guns.

  • rate this

    Comment number 490.

    I think the NRA should be classified in the same catergory as the taliban, terrorists thinking that the gun is the way of life and young innocents must die to prove their point. USA, you're a very messed up country, the west was won, the natives were all rounded up and the buffalos were all shot. Whats left to shoot other than each other?

  • rate this

    Comment number 489.

    Oh my God! What a sick country! I thought my country had problems! I cannot believe that these people (NRA) could defend possession of these lethal weapons. I guess they think it is cool to blow everyone away even little children.

  • rate this

    Comment number 488.

    NRA are brain dead ;why give a bad guy a gun to start with?Is this man demented?Who puts armed police on school premises & who's paying?He blames TV games,really?
    American has huge problems:you are gun crazy.What do you need guns for?Hunting children?Hunting is not a sport.It will happen again & again;I won't be surprised if it happens again tomorrow.
    Big industry this gun business,lots of $

  • rate this

    Comment number 487.

    380.Harry Grout
    Just now
    Only Soldiers and Law enforcement need automatic weapons.

    The man on the street doesn't.
    The man on the street needs to understand the difference
    between Automatic and Semi-Automatic.

    Also just because it "looks" like an assult weapons does not make
    it an assault weapon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 486.

    I heard LaPierre's comments without realising I had the news on... At first I thought that South Park had reacted more quickly than the NRA!
    In this day & age, big industry can buy spokespeople like these? Just look how the western world finds new reasons to go to 'war' for their masters in industry...

  • rate this

    Comment number 485.

    They're named assault weapons because they are used to assault people.

    How does this tie in with the right to bear arms for defence?

  • rate this

    Comment number 484.

    Armed guards in education institutions, armed guards in theaters (Cinema), armed guards in churches , armed guards in ....

  • Comment number 483.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 482.

    The NRA had a golden opportunity to initiate some meaningful discussions with the government, politicians, law enforcement, the general public. Instead they chose to continue to mouth out their refusal to discuss gun control. Their solution, add armed guards at our schools. Problem solved. No way NRA. Problem made worse. Gun fights at schools with who knows what result. Sick, evil people

  • rate this

    Comment number 481.

    A couple of people commented about Kinder Eggs being banned here in the US. I had to google that to find out what it is. It's a chocolate egg with a toy inside? Why was that banned? Choking hazard?


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