EDITORIAL: Response to NRA’s Long Awaited Press Conference (VIDEO)

Earlier this week I called out NRA leadership for going radio silent, for not being more vocal in the aftermath of the one of the worst school shooting in our nation’s history.

For the past week, gun owners, sportsmen and rank and file NRA members have been fielding attacks from media personalities (e.g. Piers Morgan), mainstream journalists (e.g. Adam Gopnik) and politicians (e.g. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Bloomberg) and it looked as though we were on our own to defend ourselves, that the NRA – for whatever reason – had fallen off the face of the earth when we needed them the most.

This, for obvious reasons, bothered me.  I wanted the country’s preeminent gun rights organization to stand up to the mainstream media and the pro-gun control forces that were propagating lies about guns (conflating semiautomatic with fully automatic, using terms like ‘weapons of war’ in reference to commonly owned sporting rifles, etc.) and disparaging gun owners (Mr. Gopnik, in his New Yorker article, wrote that gun owners were complicit in the murder of those 20 small Newtown school children).

Now, though, after hearing NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre address the nation at a press conference today, I understand why the NRA remained “respectively silent” for an entire week.

In addition to putting together a cogent response to this national crisis and giving ample time for the victims’ families to mourn, the NRA was putting together a plan, a real tangible solution to mass school shootings.  The plan, the National School Shield Program, is one that is based on principle and reason and, more importantly, one that can be implemented starting today.

“The NRA is going to bring all of its knowledge, dedication and resources to develop a model National School Shield Emergency Response Program for every school that wants it. From armed security to building design and access control to information technology to student and teacher training, this multi-faceted program will be developed by the very best experts in their fields,” LaPierre said.

It makes common sense, doesn’t it?  Schools right now are – by and large – ‘gun-free’ zones.   This, if we are to do a better job at guaranteeing the protection of children, needs to change.  It’s time to put armed security personnel in every school in America (key contingency, “that wants it”).

Though, of course, there are limits to what armed security personnel can do.  As some have already pointed out, there were two armed guards at Columbine High School and, unfortunately, we all know how that turned out.  But still, some resistance is better than none (America seems to agree with this, see findings from Gallup poll).

Gallup Poll

Personally, I’d love to see teachers, administrators and staff at every school enroll in firearms safety training classes, but this is just not politically feasible.  It stands to reason that there would be too much opposition from teachers unions and the left-leaning political class.

With all that said, the National School Shield Emergency Response Program is likely to be better and more effective than any preventative solution to come out of Obama’s national commission, which is being led by Vice President Joe Biden, who was a key player in the push for the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.

As mentioned in a previous Guns.com article, Obama’s task force is angling to pass gun control legislation, which includes: renewing the AWB, restricting online ammo sales, banning high-capacity magazines, and closing the inaptly named ‘gun show loophole,’ among others.

On critical note, I wasn’t too pleased with LaPierre’s demonization of video games and movies.  Maybe there is some correlation, but every study I’ve read indicates that there is no causation between violence on TV (and in the movies and in video games) and violence in the real world (see flawed WP video, ‘flawed’ because it points to access to guns.  It fails to isolate for other social factors that are more closely correlative to violence, i.e. fatherlessness, click here to read more on this).  From the research out there, it seems that none of these forms of entertainment compel crazy people to do crazy things.

Consequently, I think LaPierre should have left this issue alone.  Yet, to be fair to his point, I wouldn’t oppose tougher restrictions on violent movies (video games, TV shows etc.) or more explicit parental guidelines.

The other part of the speech that irked me a bit was the robotic nature of it.  Twice during the briefing crazed individuals started shouting the “The NRA murders!” or “Ban ‘assault’ weapons” and LaPierre just kept on “sticking to the script” as one reporter noted (see video).

Sure, I understand why LaPierre chose not to deviate from the script (following protocol during a delicate situation is usually the best bet), but I wish he had been more responsive to the audience.  For one thing, he should have ad-libbed and pointed to the incivility of the protestors as a prime example of the irrational mindset of the common gun control activist.  He also should have answered questions following the speech.

Yes, the biased mainstream media would have been tough on him, but we have the facts on our side (the last AWB was declared ineffective by the CDC and study after study shows that more guns are not creating more crime).  Moreover, we need to do a better job educating the non-gun owning public when given the opportunity.  Speeches are nice, but the more animated dialogue and discourse that follows a speech is usually what people remember.  I think in this regard the NRA missed an opportunity to win over some hearts and minds.

Overall, I give LaPierre’s speech and the NRA plan a solid ‘B.’

Your thoughts?  And what grade would you give LaPierre?

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