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The NRA's instantly inflammatory post-Connecticut press event
"The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," claims the NRA's Wayne LaPierre
 
The NRA's Wayne LaPierre would like a gun in every school.
The NRA's Wayne LaPierre would like a gun in every school. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In what was supposed to be a "defining moment" for the organization, the National Rifle Association held a rare press event on Friday afternoon — offering its first public comments since last week's horrifying school shootings in Newtown, Conn., which claimed the lives of 26 victims, including 20 young children. "While some have tried to exploit the tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectfully silent," said NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre. "For all the noise and anger directed at us over the past week, nobody has addressed the most important pressing and immediate question we face. How do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way we know works?"

The answer, the NRA says, is more guns. 

"Think about it. We care about our money, so we protect our banks with armed guards," LaPierre said. "We care about our president, so we protect him with armed secret service agents." Yet when it comes to our children, "we as a society leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and predators of the world know it and exploit it."

To avoid future violence in schools, the NRA wants to put armed security in every school under a new National Model School Shield Program, and is calling on Congress to act immediately. "The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun," said LaPierre, "is a good guy with a gun." (Read Slate's take on how much this plan might cost.)

LaPierre also called for a nationally instituted database for the mentally ill, and cast aspersions on a supposed "shadow industry" of violent video games and movies like Mortal Kombat (1992) and Natural Born Killers (1994). "Isn't fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks the dirtiest form of pornography?" he asked.

Two protesters interrupted LaPierre's speech, and both were removed from the event. Association president David Keene told the media in attendance that there would be no questions at what was originally billed as a press conference.

The NRA, which was founded in 1871, is America's largest and most powerful pro-gun organization. In the week since the tragedy in Connecticut, it has seen its membership skyrocket, adding 8,000 members each day, reports Fox News.

Predictably, much of the Twittersphere was rather horrified by LaPierre's surprisingly tone-deaf speech. Here, some first reactions: 

Watch video from the event here.

 

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