WASHINGTON -- National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre said Friday that future school shootings like the one in Newtown, Conn., one week ago can only be prevented if schools have armed security guards, just as the Secret Service protects President Obama.
Guns were not to blame for the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six adults last week, LaPierre said. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with gun," LaPierre said at the news conference that was interrupted twice by anti-gun activists.
"Politicians pass laws for gun-free school zones," LaPierre said. "They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are their safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk." a week of relative silence from the NRA, a politically potent voice on behalf of gun rights with 4.3 million members. Those who expected a bold departure from the group's avid pro-gun rights stance were quickly disappointed by LaPierre's comments.
He criticized anti-gun advocates for weakening school safety, the media for perpetuating anti-gun stereotypes and a "shadow industry" of game developers and movie producers for creating a fertile field in which a culture of violence has grown.
LaPierre showed a clip from a game called "Kindergarten Killers," which showed small children being shot that he said had been online for 10 years. "Isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?" he asked.
In an effort to prevent future tragedies, LaPierre announced the formation of National School Shield Emergency Response Program that would help schools prepare for potential threats. Former representative Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark., will lead that program, LaPierre said.
The press conference at times turned chaotic as protesters from the anti-war group Code Pink chanted anti-gun slogans as they were hauled out of the ballroom of the Willard Hotel by one of the many security guards that stood in and around the event.
After the second protester unfurled a banner, one of the guards sat in a chair in the space where both disturbances occurred.
None of the three speakers, LaPierre, Hutchinson and NRA President David Keene, took questions from reporters, some of whom shouted questions despite Keene's warning that none would be answered until Monday.
LaPierre is scheduled to appear on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.
The NRA had remained silent in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, much like the group had following other incidents over the past few years.
That changed on Tuesday, when the group issued a statement announcing the news conference and expressing shock and sadness at the shooting.
LaPierre's comments lived up to the expectations of NRA board members. Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., said Thursday that he hoped the groups would stand firm for the Second Amendment.
"If I were advising them and I'm not, I'd start telling them that we should live up to the Constitution and the Second Amendment. You know, that's it," Burton said. "And if you have somebody that's mentally unbalanced, you are going to have these problems. I don't know how you do away with that."