Wayne LaPierre, the executive director and CEO of the National Rifle Association, said schools would be safer if they had more people with guns.
“The whole idea from some of our opponents, that armed security makes schools less safe, is completely ridiculous,” LaPierre said in a speech Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“If armed security makes us less safe, let’s just go ahead and remove it from everywhere,” he continued. “Let’s remove it from the White House, from Capitol Hill, and remove it from all of Hollywood.”
LaPierre called for an increase in “effective, trained armed security” at schools following the deadly mass shooting last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.
“To stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre told the crowd at CPAC, using his oft-repeated ― and debated ― catchphrase.
This isn’t the first time LaPierre has pushed for more weapons in schools. He called for more “armed security” in schools following the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech and after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children were gunned down in 2012.
President Donald Trump echoed the suggestion Wednesday night at a “listening session” on gun violence held at the White House, adding that it could be helpful to arm 20 percent of teachers as well.
But teachers and advocacy groups working to prevent gun violence bashed this proposal, noting that educators were struggling to get funding for basic classroom supplies, much less firearms.
“Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence,” said Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, the largest teachers union in the country.
“Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms,” she said.
The NRA, one of the most powerful pro-gun lobbying forces in the world, has contributed millions of dollars to dozens of lawmakers, including roughly $30 million to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Despite the NRA’s lobbying efforts to limit universal background checks that would stop so-called “bad guys” from getting guns, LaPierre said Thursday that his organization was contributing “real solutions” on gun violence. He accused the media of using last week’s shooting to “exploit tragedy for political gain.”
“The elites don’t care not one wit about America’s school system and school children,” said LaPierre, who earns around $1 million a year working for the NRA, according to The Washington Post.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.