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HOUSTON – Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, kicked off the 2022 NRA convention on Friday by pushing back against calls for legislative gun control measures after a deadly elementary school shooting in Texas.
LaPierre, speaking from the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, opened his speech to NRA members by reflecting on the “evil” tragedy that took place on Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which resulted in the shooting deaths of 19 children and two adults.
“Every NRA member, and I know every decent American, is mourning right now,” he said. “Twenty-one beautiful lives ruthlessly, indiscriminately extinguished by a criminal monster. We are with this community and all of America in prayer. The NRA members are parents. We have sons, daughters, and loved ones. These tragedies cause gut-wrenching, unimaginable pain that too many are being forced to go through right now.”
“If we as a nation were capable of legislating evil out of the hearts and minds of criminals who commit these heinous acts, we would have done it a long time ago,” he added.
LaPierre said the NRA does “not agree with President Biden on the Second Amendment,” but insisted that there is some “common ground” as he reflected on statements made by Biden last week during his visit to Buffalo, New York, where 10 people lost their lives in a supermarket shooting.
“Last week, the president said, ‘I’m not naive, I know tragedy will come again,'” LaPierre said. “There are absolutely certain things we can and must do. Where we part way with the president, and many in his party, is on the policy question… what we can and should do to prevent the hate-filled, vile monsters that walk among us from committing their evil. Restricting a fundamental, human right of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves is not the answer. It never has been.”
Highlighting statistics on how many Americans use guns each year to defend themselves and their families, LaPierre said school children in America deserve the utmost protection.
“Taking away their right to self-defense is not the answer, but there are certain common-sense things we can and must do,” he said. “We need to protect our schools because our children deserve at least, and in fact, more protection, than our banks, stadiums, [and] government buildings. They are our most treasured and precious resource, and they deserve safety and protection.”
LaPierre also touted the NRA’s School Shield Program which, according to him, was launched to “promote and fund the necessary security that every school child needs and deserves.”
“That’s why we helped train school security assessors who play a vital role in improving the security and safety of every child, from when they get off the bus in the morning to when the final bell rings at the need of the day.”
In an effort to better prevent senseless tragedies like that which occurred in Uvalde or Buffalo from happening more frequently, LaPierre outlined swift actions that should be taken.
“We also need to fully fund our nation’s police departments and school security resource officer programs, so that every school has a comprehensive security program tailored to that school to meet its security needs” he said. “That’s why we, as NRA members, work so hard to support and train men and women in law enforcement and the security profession.”