Group outlines plans for more weapons to protect schools as protesters block him with banners
The NRA broke its silence on the Newtown shootings by blaming gun-free schools, the media, music videos, videogames and films like "American Psycho" and "Natural Born Killers" for mass killings.
Saying the killings were carried out by "genuine monsters," NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre also called for a national database of the mentally ill.
The group had said earlier this week it would outline ways to prevent future shootings. But on Friday morning, LaPierre suggested that it was other groups — not his — that had to change. He also said the NRA would create a free "model school shield" program to fortify campuses across the country.
If anti-gun groups had hoped the NRA would back away from its longstanding positions, they were surely disappointed. The passionate disdain many hold for the group was apparent just moments into LaPierre's nationally televised speech, when it was interrupted by a protester holding up a banner that blocked him from view and declared, "NRA Killing Our Kids." Later LaPierre was interrupted by another protester with another banner: "NRA Blood on Your Hands."
LaPierre declined to take questions from reporters, which allowed him to speak to the nation unchallenged — except by the protesters.
As the first one was led from the room, he shouted, "NRA stop killing our children! It’s the NRA and assault weapons that are killing our children. … We've got to stop the violence and violence begins with the NRA!"
LaPierre shook his head slightly and went on with his remarks.
"The truth is," he said, "that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters."
He said the only solution was to provide more armed protection for schoolchildren, just like the armed protection provided for stadiums, airports, banks and politicians. He noted that he had called for armed guards in every school five years ago, after the Virginia Tech killings, and asked people to imagine what would have happened if someone with a gun could have stopped Newtown shooter Adam Lanza from killing 20 children and six women.
"Why is the idea of a gun good when it's used to protect the president of our country or our police, but bad when it's used to protect our children in our schools?" he said.
But even as he mentioned protecting President Obama, he also accused him of scrapping federal funding for school safety programs.
"With all the foreign aid the United States does, with all the money in the federal budget, can't we afford to put a police officer in every single school?"
LaPierre also said media conglomerates have demonized gun owners rather than looking at their own failings.
He said a "national media machine rewards killers with wall-to-wall attention and a sense of identity that they crave."
He also blamed violent videogames, including a shooting game he said his staff found online called "Kindergarten Killers."
"How come my research staff can find it, and all of yours couldn't — or didn't want anyone to know you had found it?" he asked the assembled reporters.
He also pointed to the decade-old "American Psycho" — which features no gun violence — and 1994's "Natural Born Killers" — which has plenty of it — as the type of films that sicken society. He said the "blood-soaked" films are "aired like propaganda loops on splatterdays."
He also pointed to music videos that "portray life as a joke … and portray murder as a way of life."
"And then they all have the nerve to call it entertainment," LaPierre said. "Isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?"
LaPierre ended his remarks by introducing former Republican congressman Asa Hutchinson, who will lead the group's school-safety initiative. After LaPierre left the podium, reporters shouted questions, which he ignored.
Reporters covering the speech were told to address their inquiries to the group next week. But LaPierre will be pressed for more answers on Sunday, when he appears on NBC's "Meet the Press."