NRA calls for more armed guards at military installations
September 22nd, 2013
12:38 PM ET
10 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.

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"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. Ron L

    The NRA answer for everything is MORE, MORE, MORE, guns and ammunition and it will all work out for the better. The ridiculous assertion that the only way to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun. THE ONLY WAY this will change is when the 10 or 12 person mass murders happen monthly and then weekly. It is sad, there will be THOUSANDS more that will have to be shot before our so call leaders do something to curb it. One gun per American, and there still is not enough???? 300,000,000 guns is not enough???? SAD, SAD, SAD, and VERY SCARY!!

    September 22, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Greg in Arkansas

    If the NRA really believes that "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,"......then...
    "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a bomb is a good guy with a bomb,".......and therefor, bombs for everyone...?
    and......more guns on base for more people that might have PTSD.....MUST be a good idea too...?????????

    September 22, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    Just as hammers see everything as a nail, LaPierre sees as the solution to everything: MORE GUNS!

    September 22, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    I once worked with a guy who believed that if everyone were armed, people would be more polite.

    To him, LaPierre and everyone else who thinks this is a good idea: Go live in Somalia. There, the ones with the most and biggest guns rule – and we all know what a paradise that country is.

    September 22, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. Joan

    This guy and his cronies have a lot of blood on their hands. This is not the wild, wild west. When the founding fathers wrote the second amendment they meant you could arm yourself with a single shot shotgun to protect your home and family and to hunt. They must be rolling in their graves to see how the law has been misread, misused and abused and has led to so much carnage and heartache. Shame on these men.

    September 22, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  6. d

    Bill Clinton disarmed military bases because he feared a coup. That's how Stalinists operate.

    September 22, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  7. rs

    One has to wonder what planet "Crazy" Wayne La Pierre commutes in from. Clearly, there were armed military personnel at the Navy Yard for starters. Secondly, the fool went on to say that we "have to get the homicidal maniacs off the streets". Logically, wouldn't background checks (which the NRA supported within the decade) accomplish that? Is that too simple? Or is he looking to simply disenfranchise the rights of anyone who might become homicidal- and might we look first at those with guns?

    90% of Americans support enhanced background checks. Idiocy like La Pierre's makes both the GOP and the NRA look foolish.

    The utter lack of logic of these kooks is simply astounding. No wonder the GOP let's them lead them around by their noses. They are two of a kind.

    September 22, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  8. DENNA

    If ever there was someone who should NOT have a gun, it is Wayne LaPierre. Is this man crazy?

    September 22, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  9. Name Uche Agonsi

    if there is any mental services law, the first persons to be serviced are Wayne LaPierre and members of US Congress. These people should know that mental ailment does not strike a gong before occurrence and shooting down people is not done by the mentally sick alone........and dont you forget US police in the act, among many others.

    September 22, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  10. Ryan Greenwalt

    The reason you want to take my guns, is the reason I have them! Period!! End of debate. Let's move onto something more critical, like I dunno... Stop government healthcare!!

    September 22, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  11. Ron

    It's getting too close to 2014 elections and our politicians know better than to push for gun control right now after seeing the recent election results in Colorado.

    September 22, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  12. Michael Ng

    You should think again. I live in Vermont and everyone here can own just about any kind of firearm we want and can get them with relative ease. We can also carry them openly if we choose to. Everyone here is quite polite!

    September 22, 2013 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  13. boungiorno

    just lock whole planet up case solved

    September 22, 2013 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  14. PaulCat

    Well of course, the more guns you buy the more money in his pocket.

    Wake up people.

    September 23, 2013 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  15. Dan5404

    I'm sure the NRA and their rabid right-wing fans will be glad to replace the sequester cutbacks that the Republiocans wanted and which are the reason for fewer guards. Argue ourt of both sides of your mouth, like always, you radical.

    September 23, 2013 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  16. M.A.P.

    How foolish and irresponsable the NRA are! And how insensitive! Yeah, the answer is more deadly weapons in more hands! How dumb can people be!? This latest rampage was from a former serving officer, so what does that say about deciding who the "good guys with a gun" are and who's a"good guy that is about to mentally crack and kill a bunch of innocent people – with a gun". This oversimplifying of the issue from the NRA speaks volumes for their target audience – rednecks and gun manufacturers. As long as they are selling selling selling, people keep dying, dying, dying.

    September 23, 2013 05:46 am at 5:46 am |

    Never any solutions. Always more money for gun makers in any NRA Guns Over People tea potty statement.

    September 23, 2013 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  18. Marie MD

    Yes, slobbering fool, because more guns would have probably caused more deaths. When everyone has a gun nobody knows who the "bad guys with the guns" are. Crossfire is chaos (and I don't mean CNN's "new" program).
    These corporate anarchist just want more people to buy more guns so they can make more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    September 23, 2013 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  19. ronvan

    QUESTIONS? "Contracted guards" doing the "security" at front entrance's? Some military police involvement within the yard? Just how many guards needed to stop things like this? Can these tragedies actually be stopped 100%? And on & on. La P@#@ant's ONLY goal is for the NRA & gun manufacturers to continue to make big bucks! WE all know what he is going to say before he even says it!

    September 23, 2013 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  20. Scott

    Do any of you even think before you write something? Taking away guns is going to accomplish what? Do you really think bad guys are going to let gun laws stop them from getting a gun. The only ones affected by gun laws are the law abiding people. That is a real good idea take guns away from people so only the bad guys have guns, that ought to work out well.

    September 23, 2013 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  21. Keith Eastmond

    Dear Mr LaPierre with two million dollars of blood on your hands a year, you should be embarrassed to make any utterances. There used to be a place named Dodge City, now the whole US is the Dodge City of the civilised world because of insensitive, greedy people like you. Find a good sanctuary and hide away forever.

    September 23, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  22. Gurgyl

    This right is bs right. USA better wake up and ask for Total Gun-Ban Laws. Period. NRA 15 billion lobby got to End. America needs total gun-ban. Period.

    September 23, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
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