NRA says gun control advocates "exploited tragedy", blames media, calls for armed guards in schools

C-Span/Screengrab by Andrew Kaczynski

At a press conference where he would not take questions from reporters, the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre said that gun control advocates have "exploited the tragedy for political gain", that every school should have armed security guards, and that the media is "complicit" in making it impossible to prevent school killings.

Too many in the national media ... act as silent enablers and complicit co-conspirators. rather than face their own moral failures, the media demonized lawful gun owners, amplified their call for more laws, and fills the media with misinformation and dishonest thinking that ensures the next tragedy is only a news cycle away. ... They don't know what they're talking about. It's time for us to assume responsibility for our schools. The only way to stop a monster is to be invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Cold, dead hands.

UPDATE: Here's a transcript of the NRA spokesmen's speeches.


  1. And again I say: an unarmed grandma is the reason the shooter was brought down in the Giffords shooting in Tucson.

    My fervent hope is that enough people react with horror at this egregious NRA response that we finally see actual resistance.

    1. They know it’s only going to play well with the already-converted. Which is probably why they resorted to the classic Friday-afternoon News Dump tactic.

  2. Let’s just arm all the kids, give them body armor backpacks, and see what happens. Obviously the solution the tragedies like this is more guns. It is WAY too difficult to buy and stockpile guns now, so we definitely don’t need more regulation.

    (Yes- that was sarcasm. I realize some people will think it’s a good idea.)

  3. Guns don’t kill people.  People kill people.  But when you consider how many stupid, clumsy, incompetent and outright brain-damaged people there are, you start to understand why so many people get killed by gunfire.

    1. Easy access to guns makes it too easy for anyone in any state of mind to get one.  And with a gun a split second mistake will result in a something you can never take back no matter how much you may or may not regret it.

      The old west people like to look back fondly upon as a gun golden age was full of petty revenge shootings, ambushes, drunken killings, painful lingering deaths from wounds, etc.

      1. In fact the violence was so bad that as western towns grew in population, they generally instituted quite strict gun control, forcing people to hand over their guns to the sheriff within town limits.

    2. Guns don’t kill people.  People kill people.

      And when they have easy access to semi-automatic assault weapons with high capacity magazines they kill lots and lots and lots of people.

    3. I was reading about (yet another case) where a man was killed when his dog caused his gun to go off.  Guns don’t kill people, dogs do.  And the number of people who are killed by accidental discharges.  Guns don’t kill people, random chance does.  Oh hell, guns do kill people.

          1. I want to live in a world where drive-by shootings are replaced by gang members running up to each other’s houses and just throwing bullets at each other as hard as they can.

      1. Even then, though, you can say it’s the person who killed due to negligence of keeping the gun loaded, having the safety off, having the gun lock off, keeping the gun in reach (of dogs), …

        1. The “guns don’t kill people, people do” slogan implies “people die due to human intentionality,” which simply isn’t true.  If it doesn’t mean that, then no man-made object or substance can ever be said to kill anyone.  “Pollution doesn’t kill people, people do.”  Heck, by that logic, you could, for the most part, say, “Earthquakes don’t kill people, people do,” because deaths are caused by collapsing buildings that hadn’t been built strong enough to withstand the quake.

          Also, given that a certain percent of those accidental shootings were due to police officers, then apparently no one can be trusted with guns.

          1. I hate blanket slogans like that…  More my position: Guns kill people when used intentionally by a person, or unintentionally through negligence of proper handling and care by the owner.  But that doesn’t fit well on a bumper sticker :)

  4. The NRA is complaining about exploitation.  Haha that is rich!

    How dare people be more concerned about lives than guns.

    1. The NRA calls for 100k+ new armed volunteers to protect our schools (volunteers because government = bad.)  And who will train and certify them?  The NRA humbly suggests… the NRA.

      1. Some overweight, dozing geriatric with a gun would have been dead within seconds of this focussed, armoured and driven shooter – it would simply have added one more death to the toll. And can you imagine an NRA volunteer sitting inside an inner city school where the majority it black or ethnic??

        1. Not before killing a bunch of children with “friendly fire.”

          Though of course they would never say it, the NRA wants a return to real gun control efforts more than anyone… then they can get millions of additional contributions from the McVeigh worshiping militias and from the manufacturers.

          They and the rest of the far right portray themselves as at war with the government. It’s their shtick  and it’s going to get many, many more people killed before the “greatest generation” fades and them with it.

  5. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” 

    Clearly a logic fail.  Why downplay what a good guy with a grenade can do? I blame the so-called “media” for not calling out the NRA on their anti-grenade agenda.

    1. I’d rather eliminate all weapons that leave the hand.  Unfortunately, criminals (in and out of uniform) are unwilling to comply.  I think they are all cowards; back in the day a policeman only needed a billy club.

  6. Dear America…you are totally screwed.  The NRA was given preferred status not only in your constitution but in your political arena.  You have adopted “victim” attitude and are stockpiling assault rifles to hunt one another into annihilation.  And all this you do in the name of god.  Pathetic.

    1. The US can be increasingly compared to the attitudes you’d find in a 3rd world country – on so many levels, and the rest of the world knows it.

      1.  True – look at all of our military boy toys and then we wonder why there is no money for schools and infrastructure.  Perhaps if we stopped paying for the defense of Europe, the Mid-East and parts of Asia… we would have money to take care of those in our own country.  When North Korea spends money on rockets while the people starve we say it’s terrible… we are no better.

  7. So what happens when one mentally ill armed guard goes off and shoots a bunch of school kids? do we then need armed guards to watch the armed guards?

    Reminds me of that Looney Toons where Elmer Fudd calls down to Daffy Duck because there is a mouse in his room…

    1. Why do people always result to the hypothetical when we talk about gun restrictions? “What if, what if what if?” We are not talking about a movie, its laws. We do have facts and data of gun laws and their effectiveness, you know. Australia is one. The Swiss have specific laws and loads of guns yet little shootings. But here, if we prepose something, anything, it has to be a 100% or No Deal situation.

      I mean if nearly 40% of guns sold in the US are done with no background check, then closing that loophole would help, right?Name one thing in your life you do that is 100% all the time. No one can.

  8. So let’s assume the NRA isn’t just being cynical and trying to protect the interests of the gun industry.  Keeping in mind that most NRA members support limited gun control measures beyond what we have currently.

    Having an armed guard in every school certainly doesn’t preclude other measures.  We can still adopt a meaningful assault weapon ban, limit the size of clips, close the gun show loophole, and change laws that currently prevent ATF from releasing statistics on gun crime.

    Presumably the NRA is in support of all these ideas, along with their school armament plan. Or at least they should be.

  9. Not my country, but it might be worth mentioning that at Columbine there was an armed police officer assigned to the school who had little effect even though he traded fire with the attackers. The ‘avenging angel with a gun’ scenario is a wet-dream of the gun rights lobby. 

    Not sure what’s happened to my profile – my name is David, and I’m from the UK, so I’m speaking from the sidelines.

  10. Yeah, our idiot sheriff is suggesting armed officers in all schools.  So you have some “officer” guys sitting around on the payroll doing nothing for forty years until retirement.  Except that maybe one day, maybe, one in a thousand chance, some madman attacks.  Like an attacking madman won’t know his first bonus points are for head-shot to the officer…

    1. Yep. happened in Fall River, MA this week.  (to paraphrase) “yes it will cost money, for overtime and all, but it’s for the children’s safety…”

      1. My understanding is that she wasn’t a teacher but that the media latched onto a rumor (see other discussion thread here)

        1. You are correct. Seems she was a financial trader. Seems rumors and “facts” fly through the air just like… well.
          I still stand by the idea of arming teachers is the most insane thing.

          1. Arm the kids instead – then anyone trying to slaughter a classroom full of 6 year olds will find themselves facing an entire platoon of assault weapons.

            The class could have projects and sing songs… ‘this is my rifle, this is my gun, one is for fighting, one is for fun…

            Has to beat Kum-Bai-Fucking-Ya every time surely?

  11. I’m sorry but this has to be said. You Americans are approaching insanity. You listen to the NRA? You want to arm everyone? You want to continue an arms race because everybody has weapons?

    The vast majority of the human race makes guns extremely difficult to get. We have incredibly low gun violence. We don’t have the incredibly high gun violence that you do. We are not insane!

    Wake up America!

        1. Every other pollster tracking that number shows a substantial drop over the last half century.  Including most importantly, the GSS, which is basically the gold standard of this stuff, doing yearly 50,000+ census-style interviews.  Gallup just throws the question in occasionally with their (horrible) political polls.

          1. Really, does it matter whether you have 290 million guns or 200 million guns – it’s a SHIT load of guns.

    1.  As a Canadian, that’s exactly how I feel when I read this stuff. The only thing that comes to mind is “these people have gone completely insane”.
      I read all these comments and I don’t even see how this is an argument at all.

    2. You Americans are approaching insanity.

      When it comes to gun policy we’re not just “approaching” insanity. We zoomed past insanity so long ago that it’s just a distant speck in our rear-view mirror on the drive through bloodbath county.

      1. Hmmm. Drive through bloodbath county huh?  what is this, mad max?  I’m 39, have lived in a metro city for roughly 14 years, and never have even heard a gun shot…

        1. I could tick off a number of neighborhoods you probably don’t live in, then.

          It’s true that most Americans won’t get shot (or shot at) in their lifetimes. Our rate of gun violence is just a “bloodbath” compared to, say, pretty much any other developed nation on Earth.

  12. This is the moment in NRA’s history when they really need someone like Charlton Heston.  Instead, they have Wayne LaPierre.

  13. @boingboing-3dc2c2f6a6a75cba6bc726b4545e788c:disqus

    I was hoping the NRA would do something useful at this press conference.  They needed a home-run in the “let’s all work together” sense.  What we got was a C- performance.  It has been too easy for too long to dismiss gun-banners as irrational idiots proposing legislation and solutions written with their hearts and not their brains, people who didn’t understand our history and how this country came into existence.  It has been easy because, well, it’s been the truth.

    It’s hard to get people to work with you when you’re openly contemptuous of their opinions and motivations: “irrational idiots…with their hearts and not their brains” indeed.  From another perspective we can say the problem is “irrational idiots whose penis extenders and John Wayne fantasies are more important to them than the lives of innocent people.”  There’s dozens more ways to frame the argument so that one side or the other is entirely in the wrong.  This is the opposite of “let’s all work together”.

    If you really wanted to work together you’d try to understand the perspective of your opponents instead of immediately dismissing it as brainless, sentimental nonsense.  Unless you’re willing to admit it’s possible for you to be wrong on some points and your adversaries to be right on some points there is no grounds for working together.

    I sincerely hope you’ll reconsider your attitude, here.

    1. benenglish, you’re getting deleted not because you’re a reasonable advocate of gun ownership but because you’re in fact being unreasonable.  There’s plenty of arguments against gun control that aren’t being deleted so you should be able to see pretty clearly that it’s not your position on the issue that’s getting your comments deleted — it’s your intemperance and insistence that your adversaries are mush-brained fools that is getting you deleted.

  14. I’m not an American. I’m from Ireland. But the entire world is watching, we all know about these shootings, and the NRA etc. And we are all appalled. The idea that teachers or guards should be armed to prevent these killings is totally absurd. Who owned the guns the shooter used? A teacher in the school. More guns, means more access to guns, and the “criminally insane” don’t need to own the guns they use, they just need to gain access to them.

    Also if you think your constitution is perfect, why not take the second amendment seriously. The right to bare arms. Does this include nuclear warheads? Obviously not. Guns kill people. End of story. You can blame the shooter all you like, but the fact it is, he probably wouldn’t have tried to do what he did if there were no guns. If he tried to do it with a knife, how many people do you think he would have killed?
    If you think that arming guards at every school will deter these people, you have to think, how far will it escalate? Do you think the shooter would have just decided to try anyway, or do you think he would have waited for the children to leave the school? At the end of the day, no child’s life is worth the “right” to carry an instrument of death, just cuz you want to. Much less the lives of the 18 children, and the 6 adults, who died at this single incident.

      1. Yeah I was looking for something online to quote that, but yeah it was the media grasping at hearsay and presenting them as facts

        1. They were, apparently, all bought legally by the shooter’s now deceased mother. That’s right: an armed teacher of the type the NRA is suggesting would have protected the kids.

        2. Well if he got the weapons from another source, what’s to stop the new guards in schools from having mentally unstable relatives from taking advantage of the gun guards guns?

          The more I read about this story, the less I understand why this issue is even being debated!

  15. @Brainspore:disqus  my next-door neighbor was one of those law-abiding folks who happened to be a gun enthusiast. I didn’t fear being shot by him.

    -since it’s nested so deep I can’t reply directly-

    I don’t think extreme gun control would do much to curb gun violence.  If someone wants a gun to commit an illegal act then they will find someone willing to sell it to them.  Your neighbor acquired and owned those guns legally, so beyond making it harder for that to happen nothing would change with the number of guns they owned.  However, and I think this is an important distinction, they were negligent in their storage of said weapons.  Obviously if the criminal broke in and spent a coupe of hours and used excessive force to open a gun safe then the home owner took all reasonable precautions in storing their weapons safely.  Outside of a single firearm kept for home defense all other guns should be locked away.  Now obviously we don’t need to police people for it, but when your neighbor reported the break in and it was (or maybe wasn’t) found that the guns weren’t secured properly they should be punished for that.  Their guns should be take away, and their right to bear arms heavily restricted.  I think putting accountability and responsibility back on the gun owners is the first step in curbing instances like this.

    1. If someone wants a gun to commit an illegal act then they will find someone willing to sell it to them.

      Particularly if they live in a society where such guns are plentiful. Most gang members in the UK or Australia would have a much more difficult time finding a seller than a gang member in America.

      Your neighbor acquired and owned those guns legally, so beyond making it harder for that to happen nothing would change with the number of guns they owned.

      Exactly why I advocate doing just that. The need to reduce gun violence outweighs the need of any one citizen to have a vast personal arsenal.

      However, and I think this is an important distinction, they were negligent in their storage of said weapons.

      If you are suggesting that gun owners should be subject to criminal penalties for not properly securing their gun collections then I support that idea. But if someone collects guns as a “hobbyist” then they will likely want to keep them on display, which makes it much less likely that they’ll be well-secured. A glass display case is a lot easier to break into than a gun safe.

    1. Yeah for me, besides the whole “do we want police in our schools?” (no) it’s the “who’s going to pay for it”?

      Ooh let’s have fun with math!

      98,817 public schools in America Say, 10 hrs a day for a police officer (have to get there before school opens and stay until the students go home)Median salary of a police officer: $54,230 +benefits, assuming 30% = $70,499 (though benefits are probably more than that for police officers)If you have to hire new officers, then yay more jobs for the economy! except that would be almost $7B/year… ($70,499*98,817)

      If you use overtime officers, then it breaks down to roughly $40.67/hr ($54,230/2000 (hrs/year) * 1.5 (overtime rate)).  For a total of ooh $7.2B/year (98,817 schools* 10 hrs/day * 180 school days/year * $40.67)

  16. We are in an arms race with ourselves. How can adding more guns possibly reduce gun violence? That makes no sense. And how can anyone try to take guns out of the argument when people(kids) are killed by a gun? It is a direct causal link, and saying that better control on guns wouldn’t have stopped this tragedy is the biggest lie that I can’t believe so many people can accept.

    Anyone remember the cold war? Kids learning how to hide under the desks in case the bomb drops? The US and Soviet Union adding more and more nukes till we almost blew up the whole freaking world.

    Now we have kids learning lock-down procedures and needing metal detector and now wanting armed guards at our schools. Saying we need to arm the good guys against the bad guys. What is this place, the Wild West?? We are becoming more and more paranoid and arming ourselves against our fellow Americans!

    1. Interesting concept – a cold war with ourselves.  Once Russia went away as the “bad them”, who else do we have but ourselves?

  17. I don’t really believe guns themselves are the problem; guns have always been here.  Rather, it’s our attitude towards guns in the USA. They have become fetishized and worshiped, and the NRA is as much to blame for that as the media or Hollywood or video games. 

    Putting armed guards in schools wont solve the problem, it just makes another issue for a gunman to deal with before he goes on his massacre– he will include killing the guard first in his plans.  Plus, who’s to say that the guard himself won’t go crazy and start killing.

    But ultimately the NRA is a roadblock to rational discourse on guns.  For LaPierre to accuse us of taking advantage of tragedy to pass anti-gun legislation is irrational, it’s like saying we can’t pass new workplace safety regulations after the death of a hundred workers in a factory fire — well, WHEN IS the time to discuss these matters?  And isn’t he using the tragedy to advance his own political views?– putting armed guards in every school promotes legal carrying of guns. 

  18.  I guess that y’all didn’t hear the same announcement that I did… 
    NRA asks Congress for massive Federal tax on Ammunition and Firearms.

  19. I thought the NRA’s conference was completely tone-deaf and will only spur the growing movement toward more gun laws. I vote this stupid idea is a recipe for more TSA style security theater. 

    I grew up in Alabama. When I was a teenager, there was a boy in the same grade in me at the local public school who was in a highly publicized shooting. One boy had brought a gun to school to show to his friend. He had the gun in his car and showed it to the friend after school, out back of the school near the track area. The kid who brought the gun to school accidentally shot the good friend he was showing the gun to in the jaw (he lived). Immediately after the shot was fired, the coach took the gun away from the now very upset kid who had fired the weapon. The coach put the gun back in the car. Then the horrible thing happened. The kid who had fired the weapon got back in the car and killed himself. This story ended up in People magazine and made the people in my town look like total hicks. 
    Anyway, having put some thought into this issue before because I knew a shocking number of victims of accidental shootings, if there was a school shooting I doubt armed guards are likely not to be in the right place at the right time. Schools are big, especially high schools. Two people could not properly cover any school. 

    Yes it would be TSA level employees hired and yes, I do know what’s involved in properly using a weapon for law enforcement. It’s unlikely a volunteer school army would consist of properly trained people, especially considering that many police forces fail to train their people on real shooting techniques. Witness how many people the NYPD sprayed with bullets during their take down of the shooter at the Empire State Building – NYPD doesn’t shoot much and it showed. So now, every school is going to have some crackpot who is armed but doesn’t know how to shoot properly “guarding” their school. Yeah, security theater all the way.

  20. The gun industry’s first response:
    “Hey!  We can make *money* off of this!”

    I don’t know how to express the depth of my contempt for these people without resorting to truly vile obscenity.  I despise them far more than the shooter himself, who had the excuse of psychosis. They are boring, vulgar, mercantile tools who pay their mortgages specifically by ignoring the difference between bean count and body count. They have nothing to say on this matter; they have opted out of the social contract.

  21. My deepest hope is that we take this opportunity to practice empathy and compassion for our pro-gun brothers and sisters. I hope anti-gunners can deeply listen and try to understand.

    The world is a scary place.

    How do anti-gun people deal with fear?

    On another note, I wonder if a proposed time-frame might be useful in discussing firearm disarmament in the U.S. As passionate as some of us are, I believe that it may take a good ten to twenty years of gradual change to seriously bring down the number of guns. 

    Nuclear disarmament does not happen over night.

    I understand the fear some citizens have toward their fellow citizens. I understand the fear that we have toward trespassers in the night. The fear and distrust we have of the government. 

    Is it acceptable to be afraid?

    From what I understand about non-violent conflict resolution, it is important to find common ground. And it is important to deeply listen to each other.

    Isn’t this a time to acknowledge our shared humanity? Isn’t this an opportunity to withhold judgement long enough to risk deep understanding?

    I get a sense in all of these discussions that pro-gunners just so desperately want to be heard and understood.

    I am a peaceful person, but I admit I am afraid a lot of the time. I wish I didn’t agree with certain pro-gun positions, but sometimes I do. I would like for there to be no gun violence. But we have so many guns and so many criminals and so many broken systems. If there was a ten percent chance of a deranged killer coming to my door, I would be more inclined to own a gun. If there were a ten percent chance of a killer arriving at my child’s school, I would be inclined to want to have an armed guard at the school.

    That is fear working in me. How do I deal with the fear?

    Perhaps armed guards are a part of a solution. Maybe in ten or twenty years we will have been unable to change our culture, we will have significantly reduced the numbers of criminals and the deranged who have guns/access to guns. 

    Perhaps the police will have fewer guns. Perhaps the government will be more transparent, perhaps we will more and better political choices at election time. Perhaps then the law abiding will be more willing to slow down the rate at which we buy guns.

    Is this possible? What would the deep changes in our culture look like that would free people of the fear?

  22. These Walter Mitty protectors will be so busy fantasizing about using their gun to thwart an attacker, that a real threat will likely waltz right on in…

Comments are closed.