After slamming Democrats, “European-style socialists,” and the FBI for most of his address at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), NRA President Wayne LaPierre repeated his infamous Sandy Hook comments. “I said, five years ago after that horrible tragedy in Newtown, and I wish — oh god I wish — more had heeded my words” he began. “Lean in, listen to me now, and never forget these words: to stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun.” Unsurprisingly the crowd erupted with a standing ovation for the speech, despite the fact that the Parkland, Florida shooting was just over a week old.
LaPierre, whose name and scheduled address were reportedly kept off the official CPAC program over security concerns in the immediate aftermath of the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School, first uttered the comment in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he said during a press conference held by the NRA. “Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away or from a minute away?”
That the NRA and its president would double down on this line of argument following the events in Florida isn’t all that surprising. From state lawmakers’ rejection of a motion to consider a ban on assault rifles, to President Trump’s suggesting teachers and other school faculty across the country be armed at a Wednesday evening “listening session” and in a Thursday morning Twitter rant, the prospect of increasing the number of guns in schools in order to protect students from potential threats is nothing new.
Hence why LaPierre dug into the idea during his CPAC address:
“In every community in America, school districts, PTAs, teachers unions, local law enforcement, moms and dads — they all must come together to implement the very best strategy to harden their schools. Including effective, trained armed security that will absolutely protect every innocent child in this country. And that has to happen now.”
Whether or not LaPierre’s suggestions for protecting students across the U.S. are heeded remains to be seen. After all, a significantly powerful contingent of anti-gun and pro-gun control voices — consisting largely of Stoneman Douglas students who staged walkouts and marches in Florida, and participated in CNN’s recent town hall — does not want more guns in schools at all.