A week after the devastating mass school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut—in which 20 six- and seven-year-olds and six educators were killed by a man wielding a semi-automatic rifle—NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre made a speech blaming the media, gun-free school zones, video game makers, and President Obama for gun violence. The speech was decried by far and wide as "delusional," "revolting," and "insane" (of course, NRA president David Keene thought it was pretty good). LaPierre doubled down on his rhetoric on Meet The Press this morning: "If it's crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy," LaPierre said. "I think the American people think it's crazy not to do it. It's the one thing that would keep people safe." Watch it in full below.
There were a lot of heated moments during the interview between LaPierre and host David Gregory. Early on, Gregory gave him some perspective on his polarizing speech, and pushed him over his refusal to acknowledge guns had any role in the shooting: “I know there’s a media machine in this country that wants to blame guns every time something happens, I know there’s an anti-Second Amendment industry in this country,” LaPierre responded. “I’m telling you what I think will make people safe.” LaPierre argued that the only "one thing" to do about these shootings is to put armed police in schools.
Gregory pressed on, asking: “You don’t think guns should be a part of the conversation?” LaPierre dismissed this again, saying any assault weapons bans is "not going to make any kids safer.” He then brought up that he's gotten supportive emails from gun owners saying they went to bed safer because they have a gun, "don't let the media try to make this a gun issue." Gregory retorted: "But that's argument, that's not fact." LaPierre: "No, it is fact." Gregory snapped back: "A feeling is not fact. A feeling is a sense of reassurance. That's not evidence."
There was then a lengthy conversation about LaPierre's proposal to arm security guards in schools, with particular attention paid to past failures, including the fact armed guards were at Columbine High School when that shooting happened in 1999. Gregory then used footage of LaPierre's speech to press him on why he refuses to allow any gun control to come into the conversation "if it's possible that lives should be spared." LaPierre said this was his standard: “You can’t legislate morality…legislation works on the law-abiding, it doesn’t work on criminals.”
Gregory then took out a high-capacity magazine of ammunition (that carries 30 bullets) to bring his point home, asking if LaPierre would support reducing the limit on magazine clips to carrying five to 10 bullets instead of 30. “Isn’t it possible that if we got rid of these…isn’t it just possible that we could reduce the carnage in a situation like New Haven?” he asked. “I don’t think that’s going to make one difference,” LaPierre answered. “There are so many ways to evade that.”
"But this is a matter of logic, Mr. LaPierre," Gregory said. "Because anybody watching this is going to say, 'Hey, wait a minute. I just heard Mr. LaPierre say that we should try anything that might reduce the violence. And you're telling me that it's not a matter of common sense that if you don't have an ability to shoot off 30 rounds without reloading, that just possibly you could reduce the loss of life? Adam Lanza may not have been able to shoot as many kids if he didn't have as much ammunition?"
"I don't buy your argument for a minute," LaPierre said. "There are so many different ways he could've done it. There are an endless number of ways..." Later on, Gregory summed up LaPierre's stance: "Your standard is, anything that has a chance of working we ought to try, except when it has to do with guns and ammunition. Don't you see that people see that as a complete dodge?"