N.R.A. calls for armed officers in all schools

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - One week after the deadly school shooting in Connecticut, the nation's largest gun-rights lobby called for armed police officers to be posted in every American school to prevent anything similar from happening in the future.

The National Rifle Association broke its silence on Friday.

The group's top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, said at a Washington news conference that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

LaPierre added, "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," LaPierre said. "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?"

Some in New York State say the N.R.A. is actually trying to distract Americans from leaning toward more gun control.

New York State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. released a statement following Friday's N.R.A. press conference. King said, "Today's statements from the gun lobby are nothing but a distraction. The epidemic of gun violence, particularly against young people all across the United States calls out for common sense gun control and a more thoughtful response to the mental health needs of our citizens."

Meanwhile New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Friday's press conference by the nation's largest gun lobby group "a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country."

Bloomberg said the NRA lobbyists blame "everyone but themselves" for the crisis of gun violence.

He says America must rise above and demand Congress and President Barack Obama work on reasonable gun restrictions.

Locally, we already have armed officers in many schools thanks to a variety of funding, such as federal grants, and even local funds in some communities.

Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES Superintendent Howard Mettleman says he believes having armed officers in schools does save lives and he would like to see an armed officer in every school. Mettleman said, "Having School Resource Officers adds a dimension many of us have not been trained for, so it really is why we feel so strongly that there needs to be resources allocated to have a School Resource Officer in each building."

Ed Schmidt, of New Hartford, who helps train local police officers to become state certified School Resource Officers says having armed officers in schools would deter those with ill intent from entering the school. Schmidt said, "The mere presence of a police officer, a trained S.R.O., is a deterrent, it's a tremendous deterrent."

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