NRA's armed guard proposal met with criticism and questions

December 21, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The NRA proposal's to have armed guards in every school was met today with reaction from gun control advocates, like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who called it outrageous and unsettling.

But there were similar comments from more conservative voices like former Republican National chairman Michael Steele who called today's NRA presentation "very haunting and very disturbing".

In striking a defiant tone, the NRA's CEO Wayne LaPierre did not say his "armed guard in every school" proposal is a cure-all but is the only real way to immediately protect lives.

"The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre said.

LaPierre was twice interrupted by hecklers while delivering his statement. He took no questions and accused the news media of unfairly demonizing gun owners and inept reporting.

He also criticized the makers of violent video games and politicians who he said have exploited tragedy.

The only real way to bring a measure of safety immediately to the nation's schools is by giving them armed guards, LaPierre said.

"I think the NRA is clearly out of sync with its own members," U.S. Representative Mike Quigley, D-Chicago said.

Quigley called the NRA's proposal backwards and a distraction from the debate over assault weapons and large capacity magazines.

From an economic standpoint, training and placing armed guards in all the nation's schools would cost, by one loose estimate, nearly five billion dollars a year.

The NRA's proposal is to develop a program called National School Shield. The concept is not entirely new. Many schools already have armed security.

"You have one guard - what is the bad guy goes through the gymnasium? How many guards to you need?" parent Kevin O'Grady said.

A group of Chicago clergy and politicians pushed for a state ban on assault weapons Friday and called the NRA proposal ridiculous.

"That is a concession to a culture of violence that the majority of American people are not prepared to take," Reverend Marshall Hatch said.

The President of the International Association of Police Chiefs Joe Casey said that the NRA's proposal would be unworkable given the huge number of officers needed.

Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson, who will head the NRA's school shield effort, concedes that the armed guard decision is one that is made by individual school districts.

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