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Unwavering NRA opposes any new gun restrictions

Massacre » CEO reiterates that the lesson from Newtown is that schools need armed guards.



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"Are our children less important to protect than our air transportation? I don’t think so," said Hutchinson, who served as an undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security when it was formed.

Hutchinson said schools should not be required to use armed security. LaPierre also argued that local law enforcement should have final say on how the security is put into place, such as where officers would be stationed.

At a glance

Worried buyers flock to Texas gun show

Fort Worth, Texas » A long line of firearm buyers pushed its way into the Lone Star Gun Show when it opened at 9 a.m. Saturday for a two-day run, prompting comparisons to eager Black Friday shoppers.

Vendors and customers said the crowds were motivated by fears that the White House will work to restrict assault weapons and curb gun-show sales after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Conn.

Rod Balderman, who drove more than 250 miles from Houston to attend as a buyer, reported a 25 percent to 50 percent rise in the cost for many weapons since the Dec. 14 mass killing. He said it was unfortunate that the Newtown tragedy might lead to tighter gun laws.

Devonne Hart of Arlington, Texas, a former military police officer, said legislators should ban such unregulated private sales. He came to the show because he was curious about how the massacre would affect sales and prices.

“They are taking advantage of the situation,” he said. “Prices are up. The NRA and the right wing are scaring people into buying guns.”

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Democratic lawmakers in Congress have become more adamant about the need for stricter gun laws since the shooting. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is promising to push for a renewal of legislation that banned certain weapons and limited the number of bullets a gun magazine could hold to 10. NRA officials made clear the legislation is a nonstarter for them.

"It hasn’t worked," LaPierre said. "Dianne Feinstein had her ban and Columbine occurred."

There also has been little indication from Republican leaders that they’ll go along with any efforts to curb what kind of guns can be purchased or how much ammunition gun magazines can hold.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., noted that he had an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in his home. He said America would not be made safer by preventing him from buying another one. As to gun magazine limits, he said he can quickly reload by putting in a new magazine.

"The best way to interrupt a shooter is to keep them out of the school, and if they get into the school, have somebody who can interrupt them through armed force," Graham said.

LaPierre also addressed other factors that he said contribute to gun violence in America, but he would not concede that the types of weapons being used are part of the problem.

He was particularly critical of states, which he said are not placing the names of people into a national database designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. He said some states are not entering names into the system and 23 others are only putting in a small number of records.

"So when they go through the national instant-check system, and they go to try to screen out one of those lunatics, the records are not even in the system," LaPierre said.


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