Public opinion is turning against the National Rife Association after its president, Wayne LaPierre, gave a press conference on Friday in which he recommended that an armed police officer should patrol the hallways of every U.S. school to deter shootings like the one in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14 that left 20 children and 6 adults at an elementary school dead.
LaPierre’s opinion quickly became a punch line on social media and the blogosphere, while professional pundits deemed the approach as uninformed.
“We need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work -- and by that I mean armed security,” LaPierre said, reading from a prepared statement. No questions were allowed.
The jeering began almost immediately after LaPierre’s statement, with CNN publishing a police report revealing that officers had been on hand -- and unable to stop -- the Columbine school shooting in 1999.
As Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold made their rampage through their Colorado school, Harris spotted an officer sitting in the parking lot and exchanged fire with him before turning his attention back to the students. The police officer sat virtually helpless in the parking lot as he called for backup.
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The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ensures the right to bear arms, something even people on the far-left of political spectrum acknowledge. However, the NRA’s outspoken opposition to any gun control whatsoever has put the organization on the less popular of the gun control debate's two sides.
A CNN/ORC International poll found that 52 percent of Americans are in favor of major restrictions on guns, a 5 percent increase from a similar poll taken after the mass shooting over the summer at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater.
Republican politicians, who have long been proponents of unregulated gun use, have shown a willingness to bend on the issue since the Newtown tragedy. Some have said they’d be willing to vote for an assault weapons ban to be proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). During an event in Newark, N.J., Governor Chris Christie openly criticized the NRA’s stance on armed patrols of schools.
“You don’t want to make this an armed camp for kids,” Christie said, according to the Bergen Record. “I don’t think that’s a positive example for children. We should be able to figure out other ways to enhance safety.”
Comedians on Twitter were less diplomatic, with Michael Ian Black equating the NRA's logic with idiocy.
"A mass shooting on a rural road during the NRA press conference. 4 dead, 3 injured. If only that road had been paved with land mines," he wrote. "Maybe we could just buy Santa's naughty/nice database to see who can have guns."