If you can’t tune in because you’re at work, then I’ll live blog the press conference here. (Sadly, this does mean I’m missing the gun control debate between PA Rep. Daryl Metcalfe and Sen. Daylin Leach, a showdown that would no doubt call for popcorn and a drinking game.)
We’re having a few buffering hiccups already in these last five minutes before the scheduled start time. Hopefully NRA has the capacity to stream something like this to such a major audience.
Damn it! The press conference has been bumped until 11am. I could have listened to the Leach-Metcalfe debate. Of course, then I probably would have been drunk for the NRA press conference.
The press conference room is packed based on the NRA News feed. Lots of reporters are taking pictures of how packed the room is. That’s interesting if it’s news even to them.
We just had a two minute warning from Andrew.
NRA President David Keene comes first. He’s a great spokesman.
He jumps right into the discussion that parents are concerned about how to stop shootings. He’s going to turn it over to Wayne LaPierre. He said they aren’t taking questions, but will next week via normal outlets.
Wayne starts out talking about the concern for victims. He notes that NRA didn’t comment because of respect for families. He says they must speak, and that as much as the anger is directed at NRA, no one has talked about protecting children right now in a way that “we know works.”
He notes that we have gun free school zones, put out releases about them, and post signs about them in a way that shows criminals can face no consequences. He’s highlighting that we pay to put armed guards for power plants, sports stadiums, and politicians, yet we, as a society, have decided to leave them defenseless.
We have a Code Pink infiltrator getting in the way of Wayne. The Code Pink protestor is getting more attention since he’s being allowed to scream. The security didn’t remove the guy early enough.
Wayne is highlighting that federal prosecutions of gun crimes are down by 40%.
Wayne now says the media is trying to hide a dirty secret that there are violent video games. He highlights a game called Kindergarten Killers that’s been online for 10 years.
Now he’s talking hurricanes and natural disasters. He then cites music videos that show violence – but who is airing music videos these days? He says that this stuff is the worst form of pornography.
He says that these issues bring cruelty into homes. He says that kids witness 16,000 murders in media by the time they reach 18. He says that the media is to blame.
Another Code Pink protester with credentials. She started screaming from the beginning. Now the media is interrupting Wayne on the protests. And he then starts attacking the media again. This is clearly a speech meant for NRA members & gun owners who support the policies of NRA members.
He’s also going after misreporting on the power of ammunition and firearms.
He does say that the police were prompt. Ummm…20 minutes?
Wayne says that parents need to be personally involved in schools. They need to be invested in school security. He says that only good guys with guns stop bad guys with guns. But he points out that people who want to call 911, the good guy with the gun could be closer.
He points out that society views guns good in the hands of law enforcement, so they should just acknowledge that it’s guns in the hands of good guys that make the difference.
He goes back to a statement after Virginia Tech where he called for armed security in schools. He notes that if Adam Lanza could have been challenged by a qualified armed security person that maybe he could have saved lives. He notes that teachers and the principal had to sacrifice their lives in order to try and save kids, and that leaving them unarmed forces the sacrifice onto them.
He goes after Obama for scrapping school security grants in the budget. He asks if foreign aid could pay for a police officer in every school. He notes that there are plenty of people who make a corps of security plan options – retired police, military, emergency personnel, etc.
He acknowledges that local budgets are strained, but their dedication is there. He calls on Congress to pay for armed police officers in every single school in the country. He suggests they do it right now so kids return to armed security after the holiday break.
He says that schools should be planning meeting with parents to talk about these security ideas. He notes that every school is different, so the plans might look different.
NRA, as the top instructor, is highlighting their law enforcement training programs and offering them to communities. He notes that NRA did use these training programs to help in WWII. He says they are developing a new model call National School Shield. It’s going to focus on many facets – access to schools and teacher training.
They have tapped former Rep. Asa Hutchinson to lead the National School Shield. NRA will pay for it. Schools get it free of charge. No money required by schools or communities to get the materials to get them talking about how to secure their school.
Wayne notes that we should be securing our schools at least as much as sports stadiums.
For what it’s worth, I’ve been in the room where NRA is hosting this event, it can hold well over 1,000 people.
Rep. Hutchinson is speaking now, but the press is trying to yell at Wayne over them.
He notes that parents aren’t confident in school safety anymore, and that he’s bringing together security experts to put together serious recommendations that doesn’t just focus on armed security.
He says the focus is to come up with a model security plan that schools can pick and choose to fit everything for urban schools to small, rural schools.
He notes that the plan won’t be focused completely on armed guards. Hutchinson notes that there are already basic models in the public and private sphere – Pres. Clinton backed a police in schools program and his own son participates in a group of dads that actually provides extra security to playgrounds and schools in the community.
David Keene is back. He says that Andrew will be around next week to answer press questions. He also says he will be available to press next week. Reporters tried yelling over him. The text of speeches will be posted today.
Sebastian will work on a post later with a full analysis and reflection on today’s press conference.