Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

NRA offensive exposes deep divisions on guns  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 23/12/2012

No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!


(MENAFN - Arab News) Any chance for national unity on US gun violence appeared to wane a week after the Connecticut school massacre, as the powerful NRA gun rights lobby called on Friday for armed guards in every school and gun-control advocates vehemently rejected the proposal.

The solution offered by the National Rifle Association defied a push by President Barack Obama for new gun laws, such as bans on high-capacity magazines and certain semiautomatic rifles.

At a hotel near the White House, NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre said a debate among lawmakers would be long and ineffective, and that school children were better served by immediate action to send officers with firearms into schools.

LaPierre delivered an impassioned defense of the firearms that millions of Americans own, in a rare NRA news briefing after the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting in which a gunman killed his mother, and then 20 children and six adults at an elementary school.

"Why is the idea of a gun good when it's used to protect our president or our country or our police, but bad when it's used to protect our children in their schools?" LaPierre asked in comments twice interrupted by anti-NRA protesters whom guards forced from the room.

Speaking to about 200 reporters and editors but taking no questions, LaPierre dared politicians to oppose armed guards.

"Is the press and political class here in Washington so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and America's gun owners," he asked, "that you're willing to accept a world where real resistance to evil monsters is a lone, unarmed school principal?" Proponents of gun control immediately rejected the idea, hardening battle lines in a social debate that divides Americans as much as abortion or same-sex marriage.

"They offered a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

About 50 pro-gun-control protesters rallied outside the downtown hotel where the NRA held its event.

"They were blaming it on all kinds of other things instead of guns themselves," said Medea Benjamin, co-director of women's peace group Code Pink, who was escorted out of the briefing after holding up a poster that read "NRA blood on your hands." Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy observed a moment of silence with mourners at 9:30 a.m. EST (1430 GMT) and governors from Maine to California asked residents to follow suit. Church bells rang in Newtown and up and down the East Coast.

A brief NRA statement three days earlier in which the group said it wanted to contribute meaningfully to ways to prevent school massacres led to speculation that compromise might be possible, or that the NRA was too weak to defeat new legislation.

"The NRA's leadership had an opportunity to help unite the nation behind efforts to reduce gun violence and avert massacres like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School," said Democratic Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York. She supports new limits on ammunition and firearms, and universal background checks for gun buyers.

Adam Winkler, author of "Gunfight," a history of US gun rights, said he expected the NRA might yield on background checks. About 40 percent of gun purchasers are not checked, according to some estimates.
"The NRA missed a huge opportunity to move in the direction of compromise. Instead of offering a major contribution to the gun debate, which is what they promised, we got the same old tired clichs," said Winkler, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Monday showed the percentage of Americans favoring tough gun regulations rising 8 points after the Newtown shooting, to 50 percent.

Inside the NRA, though, attitudes might not change much.
"The anti-gun forces which are motivated by hysteria and a refusal to deal with the facts are going to be facing a counter-attack here that is going to be very, very effective," said Robert Brown, an NRA board member and the publisher of Soldier of Fortune, a military-focused magazine.

During the news conference, LaPierre laid out a plan for a "National School Shield" and said former US congressman Asa Hutchinson from Arkansas would head up the NRA's effort to develop a model security program for schools.

The NRA is far and away America's most powerful gun organization with its lobbying efforts. In 2011, it spent 3.1 million lobbying lawmakers and federal agencies, while all gun-control groups combined spent 280,000, according to records the groups filed with Congress.

Ken Blackwell, another NRA board member, said NRA leaders were discussing how to react to the Newtown shooting on the day it happened, helping LaPierre formulate a position.

"He and the team of lawyers around him are very bright and they understand the Constitution," said Blackwell, a Republican former state official in Ohio.

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in 2008 guarantees an individual right to own firearms, though it allows for some limits.

While LaPierre's proposal to arm schools came as a surprise to those who hoped for compromise, it is not new.

Former NRA president, the late actor Charlton Heston, made a similar proposal after the 1999 Columbine High School massacre near Denver that killed 12 students and one teacher.

"If there had been even one armed guard in the school, he could have saved a lot of lives and perhaps ended the whole thing instantly," Heston said in April 1999, according to The New York Times.

Columbine had an armed sheriff's deputy who exchanged gunfire outside the school with one of the two teenage killers, according to a Jefferson County, Colorado, sheriff's office report. The deputy was unable to hit or stop the student, who was armed with a semiautomatic rifle, from entering the school, and the deputy stayed in a parking lot with police, the report said.
Protesters at the news briefing on Friday accused the NRA of being complicit in gun deaths.

"If teachers can stand up to gunmen, Congress can stand up to the NRA," said Medea Benjamin, co-director of the peace group Code Pink, who was escorted from the news conference. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he was disappointed but not surprised by the NRA statement.

"There's no guarantee that the first person a mass killer targeted wouldn't be any armed guard, especially a suicidal killer with nothing to lose," he said. "I had hoped that the NRA was going to announce its support for meaningful gun control." Mark Kelly, the husband of former US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot last year by a gunman who killed six people, said the couple was "extremely disappointed by the NRA's defiant and delayed response." "The NRA could have chosen to be a voice for the vast majority of its own members who want common sense, reasonable safeguards on deadly firearms, but instead it chose to defend extreme pro-gun positions that aren't even popular among the law abiding gun owners it represents," he said in a Facebook post.


  MENA News Headlines
Apr 24 2014Qatar- QFC Authority Five-a-Side Football Tournament Kicks Off ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Doha April 24 - Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority's first Five-a-side Football Tournament is displaying dribbling skills of executives from Doha's financial ...

Apr 24 2014Georgian Justice Minister Leaves Doha ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Doha April 24 - HE Minister of Justice of Georgia Tia Tsulukiana left Doha on Thursday morning wrapping up a two-day official visit to the country. An agreement on ...

Apr 24 2014Egyptian Premier Off to Chad ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Cairo April 24 - Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehlib left cairo on Thursday for Chad the first leg of a three-day two-state trip that will also take him to Tanzania ...

Apr 24 2014Australian Federal Parliament Deputy Speaker Meets HE Qatari Ambassador ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Canberra April 24 - Australian Federal Parliament Deputy Speaker Bruce Scott met here Thursday with HE Qatar's Ambassador to Australia Yousef bin Ali Al ...

Apr 24 20143 GCC countries among top 30 on network readiness index ,MENAFN
(MENAFN) According to an annual global technology survey for network readiness index for 2014, three GCC countries have made it to the top 30 list for the third year in a row, Gulf Daily News ...

Apr 24 2014Morocco Admitted As Observer Member to SICA ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) La Romana Dominican April 24 - Morocco has been admitted as an observer member in the Central American Integration System (SICA) which also includes each of Belize ...

Apr 24 2014Qatar- HH Sheikha Moza Meets Mayor of Kobe Visits RIKEN Research Institution ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Kobe April 24 - Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education Science and Community Development (QF) today held a meeting with the ...

Apr 24 2014Qatar Stock Exchange Down 0.05% ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Doha April 24 - The Qatar Exchange ended in the red area when trading closed Thursday at 12954.93 points (0.05%) down 6.63 points from the previous closing of 12961.56 ...

Apr 24 2014UN Chief: All Parties in Syria Blocking Aid ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) w York April 24 - The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has accused all parties in Syria's civil war of "flagrant violations" of international law over the delivery of ...

Apr 24 2014Israeli Tanks Enter Gaza Border area ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Gaza April 24 - Six Israeli military tanks on Thursday entered a border area in the southern Gaza Strip witnesses said. The tanks crossed into Gaza in an area called ...

Apr 24 2014President Salva Kiir Relieves his Chief of the General Staff ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Juba April 24 -South Sudanese President Salva Kiir relieved Chief of the General Staff of south sudan army James Hoth Mai. This came in a presidential decree aired ...

Apr 24 2014Omani non-oil exports to enter African markets ,MENAFN
(MENAFN) A senior official at the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) said that the Sultanate is seeking expansion in new African markets, in a time it is looking forward to reduce its ...

Apr 24 2014US Secretary of State Meets Egyptian Intelligence Chief ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) shington April 24 - US Secretary of State John Kerry has met with the Egyptian Intelligence Chief Major General Mohammed Ahmed Fareed al-Tohami who is currently ...

Apr 24 2014Qatar- Sidra-BMC Event Boosts Biomedical Research Publishing ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Doha April 24 - A symposium organised jointly by Sidra Medical Research Centre and BioMed Central (BMC) mulled trends in research and on open access publishing here ...

Apr 24 2014Afghan Guard Shoots Dead 3 Foreigners in Hospital ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Kabul April 24 - Three foreigners including a doctor were shot dead and their colleague wounded when a guard of a private Cure Hospital opened fire on them in the ...

Apr 24 2014Qatar- Mannai Corp Q1 Net Profit up 73% to QR 150.1 Million ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Doha April 24 - Qatar Exchange listed Mannai Corporation (QE: MCCS) net profit is up 73% to QR 150.1 Million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2014 ending March 31 ...

Apr 24 2014Bahraini firms forecasted to grow 10 pct ,MENAFN
(MENAFN) In a report based on a study of over 650 companies across GCC, Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) forecasts a growth of the Bahraini companies' earnings by 10 percent in 2014, Gulf Daily News ...

Apr 24 2014Aqaba Container Terminal Contributes to Elevating Standards of Pre-School Education ,MENAFN Press
(MENAFN Press) Aqaba Container Terminal (ACT), the world's gateway to Jordan and beyond, recently held a charity dinner in collaboration with the Aqaba Intercontinental Hotel. The event, held at the ...

Apr 24 2014Israeli Army Storms Deir Samit Village West of Hebron ,Qatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) bron April 24 - Israeli army forces stormed at dawn Thursday Deir Samit village southwest of Hebron city in the West Bank. The Israeli forces conducted raid and search ...

Apr 24 2014Dubai Financial Market profit soars in Q1 ,MENAFN
(MENAFN) Dubai Financial Market (DFM) announced a better-than-expected net profit increase in the January-March period of this year, Arabian Business reported. The Gulf's only listed bourse said ...


Click to Apply



Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country
Marketwatch News
UPI News
Comtex News

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details


Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks

Saudi Arabia 

Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

Portfolio Tracker


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor


Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters

© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help