Saturday 24 February 2018

NRA seeks armed guards in schools

A man kneels in front of a makeshift memorial during a moment of silence in Newtown, Connecticut, to mark one week since the massacre.(AP)
A man kneels in front of a makeshift memorial during a moment of silence in Newtown, Connecticut, to mark one week since the massacre.(AP)
The National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre calls for armed police to be stationed in every school (AP)

The most powerful gun-rights lobby in the US said it wants to address gun violence by having an armed police officer in every school in the country.

The comments by the National Rifle Association came exactly a week after a gunman killed 26 people at a Connecticut school, including 20 children aged six and seven.

The comments were the group's first substantial ones since the shooting, while pressure has mounted in Washington and elsewhere for more measures against gun violence. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said the NRA's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre at a Washington news conference.

At least two protesters broke up his announcement, despite tight security. One man held up a large red banner that said "NRA killing our kids." The protesters were taken away by security, shouting that guns in schools are not the answer.

The 4.3 million-member National Rifle Association may be facing its toughest challenge in the wake of national horror over last week's killing of children, many of them shot multiple times and at close range by high-powered rifle.

Mr LaPierre said "the next Adam Lanza," the 20-year-old responsible for last week's shooting, is planning an attack on another school. He blamed the media, video games, films and music videos for exposing children to a violent culture day in and day out. "In a race to the bottom, many conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate, and offend every standard of civilised society, by bringing an even more toxic mix of reckless behaviour and criminal cruelty right into our homes," he said. As "some have tried to exploit tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectfully silent," he added.

Mr LaPierre also announced that former Representative Asa Hutchison will lead an NRA programme that will develop a model security plan for schools that relies on armed volunteers.

Since the Newtown shooting, President Barack Obama has demanded "real action, right now" against gun violence and called on the NRA to join the effort. His administration has been moving quickly after several congressional gun-rights supporters said they would consider new legislation to control firearms. Mr Obama has said he wants proposals on reducing gun violence that he can take to Congress by January, and he put Vice President Joe Biden, a gun control advocate with decades of experience in the Senate, in charge of the effort.

Meanwhile, the British-born boy killed by Connecticut school gunman Adam Lanza has been laid to rest. The parents and brother of Dylan Hockley, six, who moved to Connecticut from Eastleigh, Hampshire, two years ago, released purple and white balloons after the burial on Friday.

His American mother Nicole told the congregation that she remembered asking him once why he flapped his arms when he got excited. Dylan, who had a form of autism that hindered his language development, answered: "Because I am a beautiful butterfly." (National Rifle Association)l

Press Association

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