New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has lashed out at the U.S. National Rifle Association’s suggestion that armed guards should be stationed at schools to prevent shooting incidents, saying such a move will create a “more dangerous and violent” America where “no place is safe.”
Mr. Bloomberg, who has long advocated the need to strengthen the nation’s gun control laws, said the powerful gun lobby instead of “offering solutions to a problem they have helped create,” are offering a “paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe.”
A week after the tragic shooting in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, which killed 20 first-grade students and six adults, the National Rifle Association (NRA) in a press conference yesterday blamed violent video games, news media and poor law enforcement for the recent spurt in mass shootings across America.
The lobby did not blame guns or the easy availability of dangerous firearms on the shootings and instead floated the idea of arming guards at schools to prevent shootings.
NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in the news conference that his organisation would finance and develop a programme called the National Model School Shield Programme, which would work with schools to arm and train school guards.
The guards would include retired police officers and volunteers.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Mr. LaPierre said.
Mr. Bloomberg, who has prodded President Barack Obama to take immediate action in correcting the nation’s gun laws after the Newtown shootings shocked America and the world, said NRA’s press conference was a “shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country.
“The NRA’s Washington leadership has long been out of step with its members... Leadership is about taking responsibility, especially in times of crisis. Today the NRA’s lobbyists blamed everyone but themselves for the crisis of gun violence,” he said.
“While they (NRA) promote armed guards, they continue to oppose the most basic and common sense steps we can take to save lives -- not only in schools, but in our movie theatres, malls, and streets. Enough. As a country, we must rise above special interest politics,” he said, adding that every day, 34 Americans are “murdered” with guns.
He said that 74 per cent of NRA members support “common sense restrictions” like criminal background checks for anyone buying a gun.
“It is time for Americans who care about ...reasonable gun restrictions to join together to work with the President and Congress to stop the gun violence in this country,” the Mayor added.
The Connecticut shooting came just months after a lone gunmen used sophisticated assault weapons to kill citizens in a theatre in Aurora and a gurudwara in Wisconsin.