The National Rifle Association spoke today in a highly anticipated and rare press conference set to cover the national gun-control conversation and how to prevent tragedies, like Sandy Hook, from happening again by urging Congress to put armed guards in all schools.
In their first public appearance since last week's massacre, executive director Wayne LaPierre spoke from Washington, D.C. at the Willard Hotel (across from the White House), addressing the silence that directed criticism of the organization:
We join the nation in horror, outrage, grief and earnest prayer for the families of Newtown, Connecticut. Out of the respect for the families and until the facts are known, the NRA has refrained from comment. We have remained respectively silent. Now we must speak for the safety of our nations children.
In comments similar to President Barack Obama's, LaPierre urged that we need to protect our children right now. However, he attributed the violence to American violence, not guns.
He contended that we have armed security at airports, sports arenas, and even to protect the President, but not in schools were they need to be to protect the children.
We as a society lead them every day defenseless and the monsters, the predators of the world know it, that must change now.
LaPierre then went on to talk about the "dirty little secret" of America:
There exists in this country, sadly a callous and corrupt industry that sells and stows violence against our people.
Citing video games, LaPierre argued that the American culture breeds violence every day. With the same message of "guns don't kill people, people kill people," he touched on mental illness while still advocating for the use of guns for "responsible" people:
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
The organization hopes to implement a protection program that puts police in every school in America.
During the press conference, protestors held up red and white signs bearing messages about how the NRA kills our children.
With chants like "We've got to stop the killing," and "The NRA has blood on their hands," the protestors were quickly whisked out by security.
Before the press conference, the organization had been unusually quiet in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. After the shooting, the lobbyist organization silenced their Facebook page and no new posts were added to Twitter.
They finally broke their silence this Tuesday to announce this press conference.
Despite the relative silence early on from the powerful lobbying group's offices in Fairfax, Virginia, the organization is regrouping in anticipation of a massive legislative push for gun-control legislation, a gun policy expert said.
But blaming the same Americans for the death of these children, instead of joining them in the fight, is going to do more damage to their already tainted reputation.
SOURCE: NRA Press Conference