Wayne LaPierre has again backed the idea of arming teachers to protect schools
The head of the most powerful gun lobby group in the US has accused gun control advocates of politicising the country’s latest school shooting.
The chief executive of the National Rifle Association (NRA) Wayne LaPierre has accused what he called ‘Democratic elites’ of hating individual freedom.
Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside of Washington, Mr LaPierre defended his organisation’s long-running argument that guns are the defence against gun violence.
He accused gun control advocates of using last week’s massacre of 17 people at a Florida school to further their own political aims.
“The elites don’t care one whit about America’s school system and school children,” he said.
“If they truly cared, what they would do is they would protect them.
“For them it is not a safety issue, it is a political issue. They care more about control - and more of it.
“Their goal is to eliminate the Second Amendment and our firearms freedoms so they can eradicate all individual freedoms.”
This evening, US President Donald Trump said he had warned the NRA that America's gun laws need to be 'toughened up.'
He has suggested removing the right to buy guns from anyone under the age of 21.
It follows his meeting yesterday with survivors of school shootings.
President Trump said gun violence also has links to mental health:
The massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day was the 18th school shooting in the US this year.
The tragedy has sparked a youth-led movement around the country – with teens and parents calling for stricter controls on firearms.
Survivors of the massacre joined a rally in the Florida State capital of Tallahassee last night – while others met with US President Donald Trump in the White House.
Better look at @realDonaldTrump cheat sheet to ask #StudentsStandUp at the Listening Session. This is a pathetic showing of just how narcissistic he really is. "What can we do to help you feel safe?" it says. Try listening...they have been screaming it for a week, #GunReformNow pic.twitter.com/gAD5YV9GyE— Johnny Akzam (@JohnnyAkzam) February 22, 2018
President Trump used the ‘listening session’ to suggest that teachers in US schools should be trained and armed with firearms in order to tackle gun violence.
In a later Tweet, he said the policy would allow teachers to “immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions.”
The NRA has long campaigned for the policy to be introduced, but it faces fierce opposition, with one Senator labelling it “literally insane.”
Eliminating gun free school zones and arming teachers is literally insane and based on the NRA business model that the solution to gun violence is to sell more guns.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) February 21, 2018
Mr LaPierre used his speech to back the idea.
“We must immediately harden our schools,” he said. “Every day, young children are being dropped off at schools that are virtually wide open, soft targets for anyone bent on mass murder.”
He said gun control advocates, "hate the NRA; they hate the Second Amendment; they hate individual freedom.”
19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student at Stoneman Douglas, has been charged with counts of murder for allegedly carrying out the Florida school shooting.
Authorities have said he was armed with a semiautomatic AR-15 assault-style rifle that he had purchased legally last year.