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National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre calls on Congress to pass a law putting armed police officers in every school in America during a news conference at the Willard Hotel December 21, 2012 in Washington, DC. This is the first public appearance that leaders of the gun rights group have made since a 20-year-old man used a popular assault-style rifle to slaughter 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, one week ago.
The infamously reticent National Rifle Association held a press event on Friday to react to the Newtown shootings. After a period of silence from the group following the massacre at Sandy Hook, many were expecting the NRA to strike a conciliatory tone.
Discussion of gun control reform is flooding the media, and Democratic politicians have increased pressure on the NRA. At Friday’s press conference, NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre suggested that a plan be put in place to introduce armed guards at every school in the country. Critics of the NRA claim that LaPierre is simply trying to shift the blame from his organization and its concentrated, decades-long effort to relax or eliminate gun control laws.
Those who agree with LaPierre argue that tighter restrictions won’t prevent tragedy, but trained, armed “good guys” will. Despite growing opposition from gun control advocates, the NRA continues to be one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the country.
Should arming schools be considered an alternative to gun regulation? Is the NRA instilling a climate of fear, or offering a reasoned and logical solution to a national problem? Can -- and should -- their ideas take hold?
Richard Feldman, president, Independent Firearm Owners Association