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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  • Comment number 520.

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

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 519.

    The USA has many times the gun homicides of that of the rest of the civilised world but as Lord Boothby said many years ago quote Who said America was civilised.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 518.

    "Good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns".

    There are 9 guns for every 10 Americans. Maybe all that is needed is some kind of good/evil test to see who can keep them?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 517.

    When the oil starts to run out and the US empire begins it's inevitable collapse, the problems stored up by virtue of the number of guns hidden away in closets will make the awful school killings that happen with sickening regularity in that country seem almost tame. Blame must sit with all the narrow minded, selfish, ignorant right-wing leaning people and organisations prevalent in the US,.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 516.

    It's hard to believe that such a brain dead pathetic moron like LaPierre is actually taken seriously, if Americans are so horrified by what happened in Newtown why is it so difficult to understand that it is people like LaPierre and organisations like the NRA that fuel the fire. 95,000 people shot is the US in 2012...congratulations America you win first prize.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 515.

    @506. captflood

    Your argument is that you need automatic weapons to protect yourself from the tanks of your own government? You really do live in a scary fantasy world.......

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 514.

    As a freedom-loving American I say - let's burden our children with bulletproof backpacks (selling like hotcakes), security doors, armed guards, and lockdown drills - so that the "adults" can have the freedom to play with their "toys."

    That's what freedom is all about - right?

  • rate this
    +164

    Comment number 513.

    The NRA should have some kind of prize for the most ridiculous argument ever made.

    If every school in the US had an armed guard, wouldn't that actually increase the chances of a similar tragedy, if one of the guards ran amok? What then? Would they suggest every schoolkid should be armed?

    It's blatantly obvious that this is about the vested interests of the armaments industry.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 512.

    @Reid
    "Guns don't kill people anymore than cars have accidents. In both cases people are responsible."

    Um, cars serve a purpose other than killing people. Guns do not.

    @ captflood:

    Nobody is saying the military shouldn't be armed. Big difference between military armament and the general public walking around armed to the teeth. Your argument is bad and you should feel bad.

  • rate this
    +18

    Comment number 511.

    Americans I've spoken to are delusional. They use all kinds of excuses for owning Assault Rifles and none are relevant. Assault Rifles are useless for self defence, too extreme for hunting, and if they think they're ever going to "overthrow" their government they are naive at best! The NRA is a propaganda machine for a multi billion $ industry, no surprise they want to sell more guns!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 510.

    "...blamed violent video games and films for portraying murder as a "way of life"

    Maybe without those, not so many people would want to buy guns?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 509.

    481 dsdonut

    I think a couple of kids choked to death on the kinder egg shell thinking it was food, as a result they were quite correctly legislated against.

    Similar to toys with strong magnets, and legislation against toys containing lead, which although being undesirable has "probably" not killed a child in modern times.

    Perhaps guns are somehow less dangerous

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 508.

    So the logical argument from the NRA is for the teachers to have guns. Isn't it more logical for the school kids to have guns as theres more of them, based on the screwed up logic of the NRA? No, because thats insane, and so are the gun laws of America.

    Until they ban guns this will continue forever.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 507.

    Guns are owned by people who are inadequate,and I guess owning one sort of makes up for their inadequacy.

  • rate this
    -64

    Comment number 506.

    I am both appalled and saddned by how completely a once-proud people have been reduced to blind obeisance to the state. What on earth has happened to you Brits? And what do you do if your government should one day turn on its citizens and shred whatever liberty you still have left? Will angry words turn back the tanks?

    Our Second Amendment rights are not privileges granted by some lord.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 505.

    487.David H
    3 Minutes ago
    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.

    +++

    How is that relevant given that we've been told that handguns were used to pump so many bullets into those little bodies?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 504.

    The media? Violent computer games? Mental illness? Nonsense! The ONLY variable between the United States and any other economically developed country in the world is the ready accessibility of guns. The NRA's solution? More guns.

  • rate this
    -11

    Comment number 503.

    Odds of getting shot in a U.S. public school - 1 in 1 million -- http://bit.ly/ZDhlQw
    Odds of getting hit (fatally or non-fatally) by lightning during your lifetime - 1 in 10,000 -- http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/medical.htm

    We could guard against asteroid bombardments too, but I have this problem; I can do math.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 502.

    One of the most telling correlations is the following:

    "The level of gun ownership world-wide is directly related to murder and suicide rates and specifically to the level of death by gunfire."
    International Correlation between gun ownership and rates of homicide and suicide.' Professor Martin Killias, May 1993.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 501.

    A number of incidents recently show that the Good Guy with the gun can also shoot the Good Guy without a gun by mistake. If the NRA get their way just make sure you don't step into a classroom unexpected with your hand in your pocket. More guns are not the answer, less guns are.

 

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