NRA calls for more armed guards at military installations
September 22nd, 2013
12:38 PM ET
5 years ago

NRA calls for more armed guards at military installations

Washington (CNN) – The Navy Yard shooting further proves that military installations need more robust security and more firearms, the CEO of the National Rifle Association said Sunday.

In the NRA's first response to last week's mass shooting in Washington, Wayne LaPierre argued the amount of time it took for first responders to kill the shooter could have been drastically shortened had Navy Yard personnel been armed with their own guns.

"This was a tragedy that should not have happened," LaPierre said on NBC's "Meet the Press," arguing that a naval base just a few miles from Congress and the White House should not be "largely left unprotected."

"That can't stand," he said.

A week after the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school massacre in December, LaPierre drew loud criticism when he called for more armed guards in schools. Gun rights activists frequently argue that gun violence is less likely to occur in places where staff and personnel are equipped with firearms and strong security.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre famously said back in December.

Asked Sunday if the shooting at a military base undermines that argument, LaPierre said the Navy Yard was poorly equipped. "There weren't enough good guys with guns. When the good guys with guns got there, it stopped," he said.

While the Navy Yard has its own police force, there were only seven officers working Monday, a police officer and a union official told CNN. It took more than 30 minutes for police to stop the shooter, who killed 12 civilians and contractors Monday morning.

"We need to turn 30 minutes before they bring down the shooter into seven seconds," LaPierre said. He also pointed out that members of the military with firearm training are "largely disarmed on our military bases."

"We need to look at letting the men and women that know firearms … do what they do best - which is protect and survive," he said.

Is the gun control debate dead?

While a few lawmakers used the Navy Yard shooting to try to drum up support for gun control legislation, those efforts didn't catch on with the same uproar as they did after Newtown, when 20 children and six adults were killed.

The elementary school shooting led to votes in Congress on a package related to gun violence, including a bipartisan amendment that would have expanded background checks for purchases of firearms at gun shows and online. However, the Senate fell short of the votes needed to proceed with the gun package.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters last week he didn't have the votes to bring back the legislation, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, said he doubts the latest shooting will change any minds.

"I'm not going to go out there and just beat the drum for the sake of beating the drum," he said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation." "There has to be people willing to move off the position they've taken. They've got to come to that conclusion themselves. And I'm still talking to everybody, and I welcome everyone's input if they think that we can make some adjustments and make them comfortable."

President Barack Obama called for a continued fight for gun control but did not lay out any specific actions.

"As long as there are those who fight to make it as easy as possible for dangerous people to get their hands on guns, then we've got to work as hard as possible for the sake of our children," he said at a dinner in Washington for the Congressional Black Caucus. "We've got to be the ones who are willing to do more work to make it harder."

Momentum shifts toward mental health

As details emerge about the Navy Yard shooter's troubled past, the more likely route in Congress may be a legislative track focused on improving the mental health system. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, said she plans to reintroduce legislation that enhances mental health services in schools. The measure had overwhelming support in the Senate earlier this year but failed to go anywhere because it was attached to the gun control package.

It also may be something that everyone can agree on. The NRA, for example, has long been supportive of efforts to keep guns out of the hands of dangerously ill people; the organization backed the 2007 law that encourages states to report such individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

However, only about half of states have started doing so. They face an array of logistical, technological and privacy obstacles in reporting those records, according to reports from government agencies and the Congressional Research Office.

"The Aurora shooter in Colorado gets checked and is cleared, the Tucson shooter gets checked and is cleared, Aaron Alexis (the Navy Yard shooter) goes through the federal and state system and gets cleared because the mental health system makes him unrecognizable," LaPierre said Sunday.

Read more: Reframing the gun control debate: Is mental health the next focus?

Gun control supporters, however, made it clear in the last week they're not going to stop pushing for expanded background checks, the same measure that failed earlier this year in Congress.

"We're not giving up. It will happen," said Sandy Phillips, who lost her daughter in the Aurora movie theater shooting. "We need to expand those background checks so this kind of thing doesn't continue to happen."

Phillips, who appeared on "Meet the Press" after LaPierre, argued more guns are "certainly not the answer" and "just muddies the issue."

Filed under: Gun control • Gun rights • NRA • Washington D.C.
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

    So, Mr. LaPierre, just how can you tell a good guy from a bad guy without universal background checks?


    September 22, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Thomas

    LaPierre must have previously worked as a lobbyist for the tobacco industry .

    Just as cigarets have fallen out of style , so will the need to have a weapon unless your a criminal or a hunter .

    Have Gun , Will Travel !

    September 22, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Oelric

    The navy yard shooting is an issue of failures on so many levels. He had repeated contacts with law enforcement, his military unit, the VA, health care providers, Navy Yard security and his employer in which he told them about the voices he heard and the 'microwave machine' causing vibrations that prevented him from sleeping or others were reporting serious issues with him. He has had police contacts for gun violence under circumstances that also lead one to question his mental state, but he was never flagged in the background check system. If anyone thinks the proposed expanded background check system would have made any difference here, they are deluding themselves. Our current system would have denied him the shotgun purchase if any had actually done their job when Aaron Alexis had repeatedly displayed red flags as to his deteriorating mental state. Maybe it's time that we focus on the root issue behind so many of these shootings and it certainly isn't the means used by these guys.

    September 22, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. jwhester

    Naturally the head of the gun manufacturers lobby will always see more guns as the solution to very problem. One wonders whether this man is actually human at all.

    September 22, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  5. SRK

    If they could ever make a gun pill , all pregnant women should take it so that they can conceive a self armed baby. How does that sound mr LaPierre ?

    September 22, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    Gun-ban Laws are the desperate need of USA. Pass. Do not wait for white Obama. USA needs gun-ban.

    September 22, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. rokidtoo

    If the government hires enough armed guards to protect everyone in every situation, won't that negatively impact the NRA's 2nd Amendment solution.

    In addition, who's going to pay for all of the vetting required to ensure that the armed guards are not crazy or terrorists. It seems like Aaron Alexis would have been a perfect candidate to be a security guard – Navy vet, honorable discharge, secret clearance. What could go wrong?

    September 22, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. GeologyRocker

    A plague of guns unleashed by weapons manufacturers and backed by the NRA.
    Some NRA mindless propaganda for the gullible follows
    They represent gun owners)oops but
    are backed heavily by gun and ammo manufacturers)
    AR 15s aren't assault rifles(bwahhahaha)I led a MARINE rifle platoon, I think I know what a military rifle is.
    Guns don't kill people. Uh they are designed to be lethal when used as intended .
    Cigarettes don't kill people either then.
    Gun regulation doesn't work. Right.
    That's why the shooter walked into a Va gun store and bought a mil spec shotgun the week b4 the Navy Yard....bwahhahaha
    We need to regulate the mentally ill.
    There are tens of millions of the mentally ill in America. Good luck with that. How about not selling guns to every idiot who wants one instead.
    More armed guards will stop gun violence. Perfect. The NRAs backers get to sell more guns and every idiot RAambo wanna be gets to decide if you're a bad guy.
    Democrats are the mass shooters.
    bwahhahaha . More right wing "facts".
    This claim is patently BS. You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts.
    It's OBamas fault. bwahhahaha. Take your meds gun nut.
    More armed guards at schools. A Glock in every lunch box!!!!
    There is no debate about this. Assault rifles and handguns are meant to kill other people. Allowing any idiot to go buy one anytime they want to has given us this violence. This isn't happening in Europe or even Canada.
    NRAers your Glock sucks and so apparently, do you.

    September 22, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. jefflz

    Yeah sure. Same people said put guns in schoolyards. Whatever it takes to sell more guns. The NRA is a front for the gun industry plain and simple. The industry provides more income than membership dues and fees. More guns everywhere..that will always be their response – its good for business.

    September 22, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Catmandew

    NRA unless you've got a magic pill to fix this problem then quit blocking all the attempts. We've got to start somewhere to stop the senseless shootings. By blocking everything like you've done we all get nowhere. I don't believe guns need to be taken away but something does need to be done to get them away from criminals.

    September 22, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. Wake up People!

    New yachts for everyone!!( The uber-wealthy gun manufacturers)

    And repeal Obamacare!! (New million dollar homes for the millionaire insurance company execs)

    September 22, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. Tampa Tim

    If the bad guy did not have a gun, this would not have happened. I am also opposed to the NRA efforts in Iowa, that allows the blind to carry guns.

    September 22, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. BILL, WI

    With the exception of the Washington Navy Yard, all military posts have armed guards. So do not use it to further your agenda. This applies to dems and repubs.

    September 22, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. the hippies were right

    Hey I have an idea! Why don't we pass a law that makes it impossible for a person with known mental health issues to buy a gun! That way the military personnel that are unarmed won't have anyone to shoot at with the guns they don't carry!

    September 22, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Mario

    Wayne needs to go and talk to his Republican Party. They continue cut funding and the military took a big cut. Remember the Serquester

    September 22, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. Michael Benjamin

    With the potential for expanded mental health services in the offing, we can all hope that LaPierre will avail himself to them.

    September 22, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. rs

    NRA- just another terrorist organization.... They want even more un-vetted private contractors, right?

    September 22, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. Goerge Smith

    Haha, I think CNN means GUARDS, not more guards, after all, the Naval yard was a GUN FREE ZONE, in Washington DC, with some of the strictest anti-gun laws in the nation. And looked how that liberal Utopia worked out. No "assault weapons" were used, the man PASSED a background check, and the man has a history of violence, and mental illness. So tell me again how those laws are suppose to work?

    September 22, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  19. Doc1

    Who's going to pay for all of these armed guards at schools and EVERY U.S. military base? I guess we need to cover the malls too, given the situation in Kenya.

    September 22, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Yark Narf

    Team Gun-Control

    "Ok guys. It's forth and 10 and we're not gaining an inch. We want to move the ball and the other side is making their usual goal line stance.
    Here's what we do, have the cheerleaders do the usual cheer on how the NRA wants criminals to have guns.
    Then run the same play we've been running and hope it works this time."

    Pro or Con: You gotta start questioning the strategy at some point.

    September 22, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. S. B. Stein

    The good guy with a gun versus a bad guy with a gun is a false argument. If the good guy doesn't know about the bad guy, then there is no contest. This latest episode is someone had legally bought a weapon that he shouldn't have had because of some concern over his mental condition. Checking vehicles and searching people costs money and takes time which slows things down. The question is how much is really necessary?

    September 22, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. Wade

    When the NRA is the only voice of reason you know Obama is in deep Du Du.

    September 22, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. Ram Riva

    Arm everyone on this planet...that's their goal...everything for the mighty this day and age....incredible

    September 22, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. ak_steve

    We have a gun violence problem in our country. And the only way to solve it is with more guns?

    Following this logic we will solve flood problems with more water, famine with less food and AIDS with more unprotected sex.

    The NRA has gotten it's way for decades and gun violence only gets worse. Obviously their "logic" only serves to sell more guns.

    September 22, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. don in albuquerque

    Total idiots. There were armed men there whom the shooter shot, killed, and then took their weapons. The NRA obviously live on another planet where common sense does not. Total idiots.

    September 22, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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