NRA chief calls gun ownership a 'fundamental human right,' rejects calls for new restrictions
As Texas mourns victims of school shooting, gun lobby boss urges policymakers to find a better solution than gun control.
Gathering in the shadow of a horrifying school tragedy in Texas, National Rifle Association President Wayne LaPierre declared Friday that gun ownership was a "fundamental human right" of self-defense and urged policymakers to search for solutions other than gun control to stop future school massacres.
"Restricting the fundamental human right of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves is not the answer. It never has been," LaPierre told the NRA gathering in Houston, about 300 miles east of the Uvalde community where 19 children and two teachers were slain earlier this week.
While Democrats use the tragedy to reinvigorate efforts to pass gun control, prospects for sweeping restrictions appear slim as the NRA and its millions of members hold firm in their defense of the Second Amendment.
LaPierre suggested more funding for school security was a better answer because "our children deserve at least, and in fact more protection than our banks, stadiums and government buildings."
His sentiments were echoed by other speakers, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott who substituted a prerecorded message for a planned personal appearance so he could help comfort families in Uvalde.
"There are thousands of laws on the books across the country that limit the owning or using of firearms, laws that have not stopped madmen from carrying out evil acts on innocent people in peaceful communities," the governor said.
Sen. Ted Criuz, another planned speaker at the convention, used Twitter ahead of his speech to urge Congress to provide resources for "hardening school security and hiring armed police officers to keep our kids safe."
An armed police officer was not present at the Uvalde school when a gunman arrived and started shooting, authorities said.