Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association, doubled down Sunday on the group’s push to increase the number of armed officers in schools in the wake of the shooting rampage in Newtown, Conn., saying that reducing magazine clip capacity or reinstating a ban on so-called assault weapons will not do anything to prevent such events in the future.
“If it’s crazy to call for armed officers in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think the American people think it’s crazy not to do it. It’s the one thing that would keep people safe.”
Mr. LaPierre argued that new gun-control laws are not going to make schoolchildren any safer. When it was pointed out that there were armed guards in Colorado at the Columbine shootings in 1999, he said those guards didn’t go into the school and waited for other authorities to arrive.
“You can’t legislate morality,” he said, arguing that imposing limits on the amount of ammunition that clips can carry, as lawmakers such as Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, New Jersey Democrat, have proposed, isn’t going to make any difference, and dismissing a proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, to reinstate a ban on so-called assault weapons as a “phony piece of legislation.”
“We don’t prosecute anybody under federal gun laws right now,” he said. “If you want to control violent criminals, take them off the streets.”
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, argued later on the program that Mr. LaPierre’s intransigence would only help Congress pass legislation in the new year to address the problem.
“He blames everything but guns,” Mr. Schumer said. “Trying to prevent shootings in schools without talking about guns is like trying to prevent lung cancer without talking about cigarettes.”
But Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said that the discussion is about preventing people who are “nontraditional” criminals and that there might not be much he and his colleagues can do if someone is determined to commit mass murder.
“I’m going to stand against another assault ban because it didn’t work before and it won’t work in the future,” Mr. Graham said.