23 Dec 2012

Call for armed guards at schools

1:02 pm on 23 December 2012

A woman who lost her son in a school massacre last week in Connecticut has responded to a call by the National Rifle Association for armed guards in schools.

The NRA argues armed security officers should be placed in schools to prevent turther massacres. Twenty children and six women were killed in the tragedy.

Veroni Pozner, whose son Noah, aged six, was among those killed, said she is insulted by the association's comments.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal also said he is disgusted by the comments.

Adam Lanza, 20, carried out the attack at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut, at 9.30am last Friday after killing his mother. He later shot himself dead.

The BBC reports the National Rifle Association issued a robust defence of its position in Washington on Friday.

Chief executive Wayne LaPierre criticised politicians who had "exploited" the tragedy in Newtown for "political gain" and took aim at laws designating schools as gun-free zones.

"They tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk," he said.

Mr LaPierre called for a national database of the mentally ill and blamed violent video games and films for portraying murder as a "way of life".

He spoke out against the media for demonising lawful gun owners and for suggesting a ban on certain types of weapon would be effective.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," Mr LaPierre said.

Congress should authorise funding for armed security in every school in the country, he said, adding that an "extraordinary corps" of trained professionals could be drawn from active and retired police officers, security professionals and firefighters around the country.

The BBC reports Mr LaPierre was interrupted twice by protesters carrying banners and declaring that the NRA had "blood on its hands".

Afterwards, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is an advocate for tighter gun control laws, said the NRA's response was "a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe".

The BBC reports the guns used in the shooting were legally bought by the gunman's mother, Nancy Lanza.

Day of mourning in Connecticut

In Connecticut, Governor Daniel Malloy called Friday a "day of mourning". Churches in many other states rang their bells 26 times.

Funerals for those killed have taken place all week.

Vice-President Joe Biden has been assigned to lead a federal response to the Sandy Hook massacre. President Barack Obama wants a set of "concrete proposals" within a month.

Meanwhile, BulletBlocker, a body armour company, is offering a bulletproof child safety backpack at discounted rates.