Newtown shootings: Obama v the NRA


Wayne LaPierre, of the NRA, says Congress should "act immediately" to put armed police in US schools

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has a reputation as perhaps the most powerful lobby group in American politics.

There are varying reports on how much it spent during the last election, - some say it was much as $24m (£15m), others that it was slightly less. Whatever the number, it was a significant total.

The NRA has more than four million members. Many senators and congress members proudly boast if they are given an "A-rating" by the organisation.

Yet its news conference in response to the Newtown massacre felt nothing like the slick product of a group gifted in public relations.

Those who expected emollient words, hints of reasonable compromise and grave consideration of their opponents' plans were sorely disappointed.

Their leader, Wayne LaPierre, harangued the assembled press for over half an hour, impassioned, furious, and not a little eccentric in his fury.

'Difficult, fraught battle'

He talked of the way he had endured the mockery of the media, who hated gun owners; he talked of the "filthy pornography" of violent video games and listed some old films.

But the core of his argument was: "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

US President Barack Obama The Obama administration has promised to push for action on gun control

He asked how was it that banks and airports, the president and celebrities all had armed guards, but that children did not. He called for armed police at every school and offered a programme to train schools in security.

A recent opinion poll by Gallup suggests a majority of Americans - 53% - agree with his response to the murders, rather than a ban on assault rifles, which is supported by 43%.

You do not have to go too far on the internet to find those who believe far more than that.

There are those who believe that the president is plotting to take away their guns in a plan to impose an unspecified tyranny on America.

Yesterday I read a fairly mainstream outlet treating us to a comparison between Adolf Hitler and President Barack Obama.

The stage is set for a huge political and cultural battle in the new year.

Mr LaPierre's statement gave no hint of reflection, there was no glimmer of a suggestion that he thought he could win over opponents.

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

This is going to be a big battle. President Obama, in a video response to a 400,000 signature petition calling for gun control, says "we hear you", adding he will do everything in his power to ban assault rifles.

The president has decided that in the new year he will begin a difficult, fraught battle over one of the most divisive, emotional, issues in American politics.

Mark Mardell Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell Presenter, The World This Weekend

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US gun debate

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  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    LaPierre's speech was cynical, hypocritical and a heavy handed 'it's everybody's fault but mine' argument. Unless the NRA backs away from his harangue, it can not add any thing constructive to the debates. The NRA has opposed all gun control measures and promoted the 'insurrection' mentality, that one must be armed against their own government, just in case it becomes tyrannical.

  • Comment number 180.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    "The people of the U.S. Constitution are U.S. citizens."

    Chryses, PHHLEASE!

    This debate is not about US constitutional issues or laws about which most posters have no idea.

    So, in the Christmas spirit let the losers malign U$A VERBALLY, since there's nothing they can do to it in any other way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.


    Thank you for the reply, but on this blog I have no goals as I am not a US citizen, do not live there + will probably never visit. I live where there are quite draconian + well enforced gun laws.

    Is it in the nature of the US to shy away from difficult decisions

    If the killing of children cannot promote the necessary change, then as a nation you may not want,but you have my sympathy

  • Comment number 177.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    What is now clear, is that when you read about the disproportionate use of guns like the murders of unarmed shoppers and students you realise US gun owners in reality don't buy guns for defence, they really buy them to murder whoever triggers that feral, basest, sub-human, bestial, psychotic and ultimately orgasmic desire that "they shall not pass, nor shall they get up - ever"

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    Obama announced that Christmas Eve will be an additional vacation for federal offices.

    That being surprising since US federal departments/agencies are not allowed to acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth's birth, and the official cards they send have to say only: "Season Greetings"

    What SEASON, Obama???!

    But since I'm not PC (and I am armed):

    Merry Christmas, David!

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    zipperty (170),

    “The 2nd amendment is redundant in its current form …”

    For the sake of the argument, let us take that as given. Constitutional Amendments are difficult to enact.

    If you direct your efforts towards less grand, but more achievable goals, you’re less likely to fail.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    170 cont.

    You can revise it in 2 basic ways. give the people access to the full range of weaponry to fulfill their duty under the second,

    or restrict personally held weaponry to low volume,low firepower arms suitable for sporting functions.

    Guess which is sensible and right

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    Good sport today on here, watching the gun owners and their apologists completely and resoundingly lose the debate. It's never been so satisfying.

    May the rest of your lives be interesting

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Billythefirst (165),

    ‘End the illusory "debate" - give the gun nuts their bazookas and carry on 'till the next mass killing. Derrrrrrrrrrr

    Repeat ad nauseum.”

    With your 1st sentence, you have performed your 2nd sentence.

    Human Torch (164)

    “… Which Americans, Arapahos or Eskimos.. so many tribes of one people”

    The people of the U.S. Constitution are U.S. citizens.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    The 2nd amendment is redundant in its current form. How do you, the people propose to come together to form a militia to protect against well disciplined forces armed with weaponry from field artillery to nukes when you have only hand weapons.

    its terms of reference are obviously unworkable today and it therefore needs thorough revision.

    Take this chance to get it sensible and right

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    MM: "The NRA has more than four million members"

    Are you telling us, Mark, that merely 4 milion poeple, many of them gun toting Democrats to boot, decide an outcome of Congressional and presidential elections?

    Btw. How many members does racist la Raza have?

    Have you ever bothered to check?

    [I, for one, have]

  • Comment number 168.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    Obama announced that Christmas Eve will be an additional vacation for federal offices. The man's populism astounds me.

    But I wish him well in his gun-related fight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    Human Torch (154),

    "151 Yes my love the time has come to lay down our arms and do a john and yoko style protest for peace in the spiritual tantric era of no-time where we can go on and on for days ..."

    I'll pencil you in ... is a week from Thusday good for you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    US citizenry ultimately reaps what it sows.

    End the illusory "debate" - give the gun nuts their bazookas and carry on 'till the next mass killing. Derrrrrrrrrrr

    Repeat ad nauseum.

  • Comment number 164.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    Billythefirst (158),

    “Nothing must be allowed to alter the precious constitootion …”

    You are, yet again, mistaken:

    “… it's the bedrock of US democracy …”

    No, it is the foundation of U.S. law. Americans are the bedrock of American democracy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    No sireulau @ 150

    YOU don't get it

    Constitution was pre modern era, for the circumstances AT THAT TIME

    US gun owners are like the baboons and other primates who discovered at the dawn of time that taking to weapons, was the cowards way to win arguments.


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