NRA calls for armed cop in every school

National Rifle Association Holds News Conference I
National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre calls on Congress to pass a law putting armed police officers in every school in America during a news conference at the Willard Hotel December 21, 2012 in Washington, DC. This is the first public appearance that leaders of the gun rights group have made since a 20-year-old man used a popular assault-style rifle to slaughter 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, one week ago.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's largest gun-rights lobby called Friday for armed police officers to be posted in every American school to stop the next killer "waiting in the wings."

The National Rifle Association broke its silence on last week's shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 children and staff dead.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," the group's top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, said at a Washington news conference.

LaPierre said "the next Adam Lanza," the man responsible for last week's mayhem, is planning an attack on another school.

"How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame from a national media machine that rewards them with wall-to-wall attention and a sense of identity that they crave, while provoking others to try to make their mark," LaPierre said. "A dozen more killers, a hundred more? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation's refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?"

He blamed video games, movies and music videos for exposing children to a violent culture day in and day out. "In a race to the bottom, many conglomerates compete with one another to shock, violate, and offend every standard of civilized society, by bringing an even more toxic mix of reckless behavior and criminal cruelty right into our homes," LaPierre said.

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He refused to take any questions after speaking. Though security was tight, two protesters were able to interrupt LaPierre's speech, holding up signs that blamed the NRA for killing children. Both were escorted out, shouting that guns in schools are not the answer.

A demonstrator from CodePink holds up a banner
A demonstrator from CodePink holds up a banner as National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre delivers remarks during a news conference at the Willard Hotel December 21, 2012 in Washington, DC. This is the first public appearance that leaders of the gun rights group have made since a 20-year-old man used a popular assault-style rifle to slaughter 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, one week ago.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

LaPierre announced that former Rep. Asa Hutchison, R-Ark., will lead an NRA program that will develop a model security plan for schools that relies on armed volunteers.

The 4.3 million-member NRA largely disappeared from public debate after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., choosing atypical silence as a strategy as the nation sought answers after the rampage. The NRA temporarily took down its Facebook page and kept quiet on Twitter.

Since the slayings, President Barack Obama has demanded "real action, right now" against U.S. gun violence and called on the NRA to join the effort. Moving quickly after several congressional gun-rights supporters said they would consider new legislation to control firearms, the president said this week he wants proposals to reduce gun violence that he can take to Congress by January.

Obama has already asked Congress to reinstate an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and pass legislation that would stop people from purchasing firearms from private sellers without a background check. Obama also has indicated he wants Congress to pursue the possibility of limiting high-capacity magazines.

BELLS CHIME

Meanwhile, the chiming of bells reverberated throughout Newtown on Friday, commemorating one week since the crackle of gunfire in a schoolhouse killed 20 children and six adults in a massacre that has shaken the community -- and the nation -- to its core.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy gathered with other officials in rain and wind on the steps of the Edmond Town Hall as the bell rang 26 times in memory of each life lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gunman also killed his mother before the massacre, and himself afterward.

Officials didn't plan any formal remarks Friday morning, and similar commemorations took place throughout the country.

Though the massacre does not rank as the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history -- that happened at Virginia Tech -- the tender age of the victims and the absence of any apparent motive has struck at Americans' hearts and minds. The gunman used a military-style assault rifle loaded with ammunition intended to inflict maximum damage, officials have said.

The White House said President Barack Obama privately observed the moment of silence.