The National Rifle Association’s 4 million mothers, fathers, sons and
daughters join the nation in horror, outrage, grief and earnest prayer
for the families of Newtown, Connecticut … who suffered such
incomprehensible loss as a result of this unspeakable crime.
Out of respect for those grieving 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 respectfully
Now, we must speak … for the safety of our nation’s children. 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 up to the truth.
Politicians pass laws for Gun-Free School Zones. They issue press
releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them. 2
And in so doing, they tell every insane killer in America that schools
are their 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,
courthouses — even sports stadiums — are all protected by armed
We care about the President, so we protect him with armed Secret
Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by
armed Capitol Police officers.
Yet when it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerable
members of the American family — our children — we as a society
leave them utterly defenseless, and the monsters and predators of this
world know it and exploit it. That must change now!
The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of
genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by
voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever
comprehend them. They walk among us every 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?
How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of
fame — from a national media machine that rewards them with the
wall-to-wall attention and 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?
And the fact is, that wouldn’t even begin to address the much larger
and more lethal criminal class: Killers, robbers, rapists and drug gang
members who have spread like cancer in every community in this
country. Meanwhile, federal gun prosecutions have decreased by 40%
— to the lowest levels in a decade.
So now, due to a declining willingness to prosecute dangerous
criminals, violent crime is increasing again for the first time in
19 years! Add another hurricane, terrorist attack or some other natural
or man-made disaster, and you’ve got a recipe for a national
nightmare of violence and victimization.
And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to
conceal: There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting
shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people.
Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm,
Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here’s one:
it’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for 10 years. How come
my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn’t or
didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?
Then there’s the blood-soaked slasher films like “American Psycho”
and “Natural Born Killers” that are aired like propaganda loops on
“Splatterdays” and every day, and a thousand music videos that
portray life as a joke and murder as a way of life. And then they have
the nerve to call it “entertainment.”
But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a
way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?
In a race to the bottom, media conglomerates compete with one
another to shock, violate and offend every standard of civilized
society by bringing an ever-more-toxic mix of reckless behavior and
criminal cruelty into our homes — every minute of every day of
every month of every year.
A child growing up in America witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000
acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18.
And throughout it all, too many in our national media … their corporate
owners … and their stockholders … act as silent enablers, if not
complicit co-conspirators. Rather than face their own moral failings,
the media demonize lawful gun owners, amplify their cries for more
laws and fill the national debate with misinformation and dishonest
thinking that only delay meaningful action and all but guarantee that
the next atrocity is only a news cycle away.
The media call semi-automatic firearms “machine guns” — they claim
these civilian semi-automatic firearms are used by the military, and
they tell us that the .223 round is one of the most powerful rifle 5
calibers … when all of these claims are factually untrue. They don’t
know what they’re talking about!
Worse, they perpetuate the dangerous notion that one more gun ban
— or one more law imposed on peaceful, lawful people — will protect
us where 20,000 others have failed!
As brave, heroic and self-sacrificing as those teachers were in those
classrooms, and as prompt, professional and well-trained as those
police were when they responded, they were unable — through no
fault of their own — to stop it.
As parents, we do everything we can to keep our children safe. It is
now time for us to assume responsibility for their safety at school.
The only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally
involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing
that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Would you
rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile
away … or a minute away?
Now, I can imagine the shocking headlines you’ll print tomorrow
morning: “More guns,” you’ll claim, “are the NRA’s answer to
everything!” Your implication will be that guns are evil and have no
place in society, much less in our schools. But since when did the
word “gun” automatically become a bad word?
A gun in the hands of a Secret Service agent protecting the President
isn’t a bad word. A gun in the hands of a soldier protecting the United
States isn’t a bad word. And when you hear the glass breaking in your 6
living room at 3 a.m. and call 911, you won’t be able to pray hard
enough for a gun in the hands of a good guy to get there fast enough
to protect you.
So why is the idea of a gun good when it’s used to protect our
President or our country or our police, but bad when it’s used to
protect our children in their schools?
They’re our kids. They’re our responsibility. And it’s not just our duty
to protect them — it’s our right to protect them.
You know, five years ago, after the Virginia Tech tragedy, when I said
we should put armed security in every school, the media called me
crazy. But what if, when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into
Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he had been confronted by
qualified, armed security?
Will you at least admit it’s possible that 26 innocent lives might have
been spared? Is that so abhorrent to you that you would rather
continue to risk the alternative?
Is the press and political class here in Washington so consumed by
fear and hatred of the NRA and America’s gun owners that you’re
willing to accept a world where real resistance to evil monsters is a
lone, unarmed school principal left to surrender her life to shield the
children in her care? No one — regardless of personal political
prejudice — has the right to impose that sacrifice.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is no national, one-size-fits-all solution to
protecting our children. But do know this President zeroed out school
emergency planning grants in last year’s budget, and scrapped
“Secure Our Schools” policing grants in next year’s budget.
With all the foreign aid, with all the money in the federal budget,
we can’t afford to put a police officer in every school? Even if they did
that, politicians have no business — and no authority — denying us
the right, the ability, or the moral imperative to protect ourselves
and our loved ones from harm.
Now, the National Rifle Association knows that there are millions of
qualified active and retired police; active, reserve and retired military;
security professionals; certified firefighters and rescue personnel; and
an extraordinary corps of patriotic, trained qualified citizens to join
with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for
every school. We can deploy them to protect our kids now. We can
immediately make America’s schools safer — relying on the brave men
and women of America’s police force.
The budget of our local police departments are strained and resources
are limited, but their dedication and courage are second to none and
they can be deployed right now.
I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is
necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it
now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children
return to school in January.
Before Congress reconvenes, before we engage in any lengthy debate
over legislation, regulation or anything else, as soon as our kids return
to school after the holiday break, we need to have every single school
in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work —
and by that I mean armed security.
Right now, today, every school in the United States should plan
meetings with parents, school administrators, teachers and local
authorities — and draw upon every resource available — to erect a
cordon of protection around our kids right now. Every school will have
a different solution based on its own unique situation.
Every school in America needs to immediately identify, dedicate and
deploy the resources necessary to put these security forces in place
right now. And the National Rifle Association, as America’s preeminent
trainer of law enforcement and security personnel for the past 50
years, is ready, willing and uniquely qualified to help.
Our training programs are the most advanced in the world. That
expertise must be brought to bear to protect our schools and our
children now. We did it for the nation’s defense industries and military
installations during World War II, and we’ll do it for our schools today.
The NRA is going to bring all of its knowledge, dedication and
resources to develop a model National School Shield Emergency
Response Program for every school that wants it. From armed security
to building design and access control to information technology to
student and teacher training, this multi-faceted program will be
developed by the very best experts in their fields.
Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson will lead this effort as National
Director of the National School Shield Program, with a budget provided
by the NRA of whatever scope the task requires. His experience as a
U.S. Attorney, Director of the Drug Enforcement Agency and
Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security will give him
the knowledge and expertise to hire the most knowledgeable and
credentialed experts available anywhere, to get this program up and
running from the first day forward.
If we truly cherish our kids more than our money or our celebrities,
we must give them the greatest level of protection possible and the
security that is only available with a properly trained — armed —
Under Asa’s leadership, our team of security experts will make this
the best program in the world for protecting our children at school,
and we will make that program available to every school in America
free of charge.
That’s a plan of action that can, and will, make a real, positive
and indisputable difference in the safety of our children —
starting right now.
There’ll be time for talk and debate later. This is the time,
this is the day for decisive action.
We can’t wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act.
We can’t lose precious time debating legislation that won’t work. We10
mustn’t allow politics or personal prejudice to divide us.
We must act now.
For the sake of the safety of every child in America, I call on every
parent, every teacher, every school administrator and every law
enforcement officer in this country to join us in the National School
Shield Program and protect our children with the only line of positive
defense that’s tested and proven to work.
And now, to tell you more about the program, I’d like to introduce
the head of that effort — a former U.S. congressman, former
U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas and former
administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the
Honorable Asa Hutchinson.
Thank you, Wayne.
One of the first responsibilities I learned at Homeland Security was
the importance of protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure,
and there is nothing more critical to our nation’s well being than
our children’s safety. They are this country’s future and her most
We all understand that our children should be safe in school, but it is
also essential that the parents have confidence in that safety. As a
result of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, that confidence has
been shattered. Assurance of school safety must be restored with a
sense of urgency.
That is why I am grateful that the NRA has asked me to lead a team of
security experts to assist our schools, parents and communities. I took
this assignment on one condition: That my team of experts will be
independent and will be guided solely by what are the best security
solutions for the safety of our children while at school.
Even though we are just starting this process, I envision this initiative
will have two key elements: First, it would be based on a model
security plan — a comprehensive strategy for school security based on
the latest, most up-to-date technical information from the foremost
experts in their fields.
This model security plan will serve as a template — a set of best
practices, principles and guidelines that every school in America can
tweak, if needed, and tailor to their own set of circumstances.
Every school and community is different, but this model security plan
will allow every school to choose among its various components to
develop a school safety strategy that fits their own unique situation,
whether it’s a large urban school, a small rural school or anything
Armed, trained, qualified school security personnel will be one element
of that plan, but by no means the only element. If a school decides for
whatever reason that it doesn’t want or need armed security
personnel, that of course is a decision to be made by parents at the
The second point I want to make is that this will be a program that
doesn’t depend on massive funding from local authorities or the
federal government. Instead, it’ll make use of local volunteers serving
in their own communities.
In my home state of Arkansas, my son was a volunteer with a local
group called “Watchdog Dads,” who volunteer their time at schools to
patrol playgrounds and provide a measure of added security.
Whether they’re retired police, retired military or rescue personnel,
I think there are people in every community in this country, who would
be happy to serve, if only someone asked them and gave them the
training and certification to do so.
The National Rifle Association is the natural, obvious choice to sponsor
this program. Their gun safety, marksmanship and hunter education
programs have set the standard for well over a century. Over the past
25 years, their Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program has taught over 26
million kids that real guns aren’t toys and, today, child gun accidents
are at the lowest levels ever recorded.
School safety is a complex issue with no simple, single solution.
But I believe trained, qualified, armed security is one key component
among many that can provide the first line of deterrence as well as
the last line of defense. And I welcome the opportunity to serve in this
vital, potentially lifesaving effort.