Here's a transcript of the remarks from the NRA press conference on the Sandy Hook school shooting. Statements are being updated as the remarks unfold.
More Coverage: NRA’s Wayne LaPierre: Put “armed police officers in every school.”
DAVID KEENE, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: Good morning. I’m Dave Keene, president of the National Rifle Association of America.
And I’d like to welcome you here this morning for the purposes of beginning our discussion of the topic that’s been on the mind of American parents across this country, and that is, what do we do about the tragedies of the sort that struck in Newtown, Connecticut -- to avoid such events in the future?
Like most Americans, we were shocked by what happened. Like all Americans, we’ve been discussing all of the various options that are available to protect our children, and at this point we would like to share our thinking with you.
And for that purpose I’d like to introduce Wayne LaPierre, our executive vice president.
Thank you again for being with us.
And at the end of this conference we will not be taking questions, but next week we will be available to any of you who are interested in talking about these or other issues of interest to you, so contact us, please, at that point.
Thank you very much.
WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NRA: Good morning.
The National Rifle Association -- 4 million mothers, fathers, sons and daughters -- join the nation in horror, outrage, grief, and earnest prayer for the families of Newtown, Connecticut, who have suffered such an incomprehensible loss as a result of this unspeakable crime.
Out of respect for the families and until the facts are known, the NRA has refrained from comment.
While some have tried to exploit tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectably silent. Now, we must speak for the safety of our nation’s children.
LAPIERRE: Because for all the noise and anger directed at us over the past week, no one, nobody has addressed the most important, pressing and immediate question we face: How do we protect our children right now, starting today, in a way that we know works?
The only way to answer that question is to face the truth. Politicians pass laws for gun free school zones, they issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. And, in doing so, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.
How have our nation’s priorities gotten so far out of order. Think about it. We care about our money, so we protect our banks with armed guards. American airports, office buildings, power plants, court houses, even sports stadiums are all protected by armed security.
LAPIERRE: We care about our president, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by Capitol Police officers. Yet, when it comes to our most beloved, innocent, and vulnerable members of the American family, our children, we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of the world know it, and exploit it.
That must change now. The truth is...
PROTESTER: (inaudible) stop killing our children. It’s the NRA and -- the assault weapons that are killing our children, not (inaudible) teacher. We’ve got to end (inaudible). We’ve got to end the violence. We’ve got to stop the killers, stop the killing our children, stop killing our (inaudible) stop killing in our streets.
The NRA is killing our children. We’ve got to stop the violence, and violence begins with the NRA. Stating the true facts that they are the perpetrators of the violence that is taking place in our schools and on our streets.
LAPIERRE: The truth is, that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters. People that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons, that no sane person can every possibly comprehend them. They walk among us every single day, and does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn’t planning his attack on a school, he’s already identified at this very moment?
LAPIERRE: How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame from a national media machine that rewards them with wall-to-wall attention and a sense of identity that they crave, while provoking others to try to make their mark.
A dozen more killers, a hundred more? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill? The fact is this: That wouldn’t even begin to address the much larger, more lethal criminal class -- killers, robbers, rapists, gang members who have spread like cancer in every community across our nation.