WASHINGTON - An unwavering National Rifle Association said Sunday that not a single new gun regulation was needed to prevent mass shootings such as the one at a Connecticut elementary school, that "a media machine" relishes blaming the gun industry for each new attack, and that a White House task force on gun violence may try to undermine the Second Amendment.
"Look, a gun is a tool. The problem is the criminal," the CEO of the nation's largest gun-rights lobby said in a nationally broadcast television interview, mocking supporters of gun controls.
Wayne LaPierre hardly backed down from his comments Friday, when the NRA broke its weeklong silence on the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in a staged event billed as a news conference - though questions weren't allowed.
While the group had promised "meaningful contributions" to ensure that such an attack never happened again, LaPierre's assertion that guns and police officers in all schools are what will stop the next killer drew widespread scorn, and even some NRA supporters in Congress are publicly disagreeing with the group. U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) called it "the most revolting, tone-deaf statement I've ever seen." A headline from the New York Post summarized LaPierre's initial presentation before reporters with the headline: "Gun Nut! NRA loon in bizarre rant over Newtown."
LaPierre told NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday that only those armed guards and police would make kids safe, and that a culture of violence popularized by the entertainment industry - movies, music, video games - was responsible for senseless shootings.
"If it's crazy to call for putting police and armed security in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy," LaPierre said.
He asked Congress for money to put a police officer in every school and said the NRA would coordinate a national effort to put former military and police offers in schools as volunteer guards.