On Sunday Shows, NRA Blasts Calls for Gun Control

2:30 PM, Dec 23, 2012   |    comments
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NRA President David Keene was among NRA spokesmen interviewed on Sunday talk shows who opposed an assault-weapons ban.

By Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY

The National Rifle Association stood firm Sunday in its opposition to any new gun laws, as one of its top officials blasted an effort by Sen. Dianne Feinstein to re-institute an assault weapons ban.

Feinstein, D-Calif., has promised to introduce legislation when Congress reconvenes next year that would reinstate an assault weapons ban that Congress passed in 1994 but which lapsed a decade later

"It's a phony piece of legislation and I don't think it will pass for this reason: It's all built on lies," NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in an interview on NBC's Meet the Press.

The comments from LaPierre follow his group's call on Friday for more armed guards in schools.

"We're going to support an immediate appropriation before Congress to put police officers in every school," LaPierre said Sunday.

About 70% of public schools don't have police officer and almost 60% don't have any security staff. Those with police tend to be big and urban schools, according to a USA TODAY data analysis.

The NRA proposal has been criticized by some Democrats and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, who question the wisdom of putting weapons in an educational environment.

But in a separate interview Sunday, Asa Hutchinson, a former congressman from Arkansas who is leading the NRA's push for putting armed guards in schools, defended the proposal.

"Let's compare this back to the federal air marshal program on airplanes," Hutchinson told ABC's This Week. "There was intense debate that on airplanes, guns have no place, and yet we have a federal air marshal program that I helped to oversee, and which has provided a deterrent. It has increased the safety of the airlines, and it's not like it's an armed camp when you go on the airlines."

LaPierre and the NRA were pilloried by some news organizations following their comments Friday, with the conservative New York Post disparaging LaPierre as "gun nut" and a "loon."

The Sunday interview was the first by LaPierre since the Newtown, Conn., tragedy in which 20 children and six faculty were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school on Dec. 14. He echoed remarks he made in an event Friday billed by the NRA as a news conference -- though he took no questions - in which he charged the media and anti-gun lobbyists are intent on blaming guns whenever there is a tragedy.

"I know there's a media machine in this country that wants to blame guns every time something happens," he said, adding, "I know there's an anti-gun industry in this town.

Contributing: Meghan Hoyer

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