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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 gun control legislation after a deadly elementary school filming in Texas.
LaPierre, speaking from the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, opened his speech to NRA members by addressing the “diabolical” tragedy that unfolded Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which resulted in the shooting deaths of 19 children and two adults.
“Every member of the NRA, and I know every decent American, is in mourning right now,” he said. “Twenty-one beautiful lives ruthlessly, indiscriminately extinguished by a criminal monster. We stand with this community and all of America in prayer. NRA members are parents. We have sons, daughters, and loved ones. These tragedies are heartbreaking, unimaginable pain that too many people are being forced to go through right now.”
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“If we as a nation were able to legislate to remove the evil from the hearts and minds of criminals who commit these heinous acts, we would have done so long ago,” he added.
LaPierre said the NRA ‘did not agree with President Biden on the Second Amendment’ but insisted there was ‘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 happen again,'” LaPierre said. “There are absolutely some things we can and should do. Where we part ways with the President, and many members of his party, is on the political issue…what we can and should do to prevent the hate monsters and dastardly people who walk among them to prevent them from doing their evil. Restricting a basic human right of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves is not the solution. It never has been.
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Pointing to statistics on the number of Americans who use firearms each year to defend themselves and their families, LaPierre said American school children deserve the utmost protection.
“Taking away their right to self-defense is not the answer, but there are some common sense things we can and should do,” he said. “We must 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 valuable and valuable resource, and they deserve safety and protection.”
LaPierre also touted the NRA’s School Shield program which he said was started to “promote and fund the necessary safety that every school child needs and deserves.”
“That’s why we’ve helped train School Safety Assessors who play a critical role in making every child safer and more secure, from getting off the bus in the morning to when the last bell rings as needed for the day.”
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In an effort to better prevent senseless tragedies like the one that happened in Uvalde or Buffalo from happening more frequently, LaPierre outlined the quick steps that should be taken.
“We also need to fully fund our nation’s police departments and school safety officer programs, so that every school has a comprehensive safety program tailored to that school to meet its safety needs” , did he declare. “That’s why we, as members of the NRA, work so hard to support and train men and women in law enforcement and security.”
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