The National Rifle Association’s call Friday for armed volunteers at every school was a breathtaking self-parody. People who regarded the group as principled defenders of individual liberties were exposed to Wayne LaPierre, the NRA vice president, declaring, “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
This vision, straight out of the Wild West, is farcical. There are 132,000 elementary and secondary schools and 6,700 colleges in the nation to protect. Despite the NRA’s promise to train a volunteer militia, its members won’t have the judgment of police in making split-second decisions about when to shoot or back off. The NRA’s solution would probably result in more students killed in accidental shootings.
The NRA blamed video games, the mentally ill, and the media’s “moral failings” in demonizing lawful gun owners. It was high ideological dudgeon and exposed a near-vigilante mentality, at least on LaPierre’s part. Thankfully, nearly two-thirds of Americans polled by CNN this week said assault weapons and high-capacity clips holding more than 10 bullets should be banned. The NRA had promised to make “meaningful contributions” to the gun-control debate. All it delivered was a slap in the face to Americans who want thoughtful constraints on the nation’s vast private arsenal.