The head of the National Rifle Association lashed out at gun control advocates on Thursday, saying Democratic elites are politicizing the latest mass school shooting in the United States to try to erode constitutionally guaranteed gun rights.
NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre echoed President Donald Trump’s call to arm teachers to prevent school shootings, and weighed in on a long-running political and cultural divide over access to weapons that has been inflamed by last week’s massacre at a Florida high school that killed 17 students and staff.
“The elites don’t care not one whit about America’s school system and school children,” LaPierre told a friendly audience of conservatives outside Washington. “Their goal is to eliminate the Second Amendment and our firearms freedoms so they can eradicate all individual freedoms.”
The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms.
At the White House, Trump told local and state school officials he had discussed his ideas to stem gun violence in schools with the NRA, the politically influential gun lobby that backed him in the 2016 campaign. He called the group “Great American Patriots.”
“There’s a tremendous feeling that we want to get something done,” he said. “The NRA wants to do the right thing.”
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer condemned LaPierre’s comments and said the NRA was “once again spewing pathetic, out of touch ideas, blaming everything but guns.”
The Feb. 14 rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was the latest in a series of deadly shootings at U.S. schools and has spurred unprecedented youth-led protests in cities across the country. Many of the teenagers and their parents taking part have called for more curbs on guns. (Reuters)
Here’s a look at gun-control rallies since the Florida school shooting.