NRA's Wayne LaPierre continues to reject new gun laws after Newtown shooting

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The National Rifle Association continues to oppose any new gun regulations in the wake of the mass shooting of elementary school students in Connecticut, the gun lobby's chief executive officer said.

Wayne LaPierre said on NBC's "Meet the Press" today that the right way to improve student safety would be to place armed guards in every U.S. school, focus on prosecuting violent criminals and get mentally ill people off the street.

"This town wants to argue about gun control," LaPierre said. "We don't think it works and we're not going to support it."

LaPierre, NRA President David Keane and former Representative Asa Hutchinson, an Arkansas Republican leading the gun-rights group's efforts to improve school safety, made the rounds of the Sunday television talk shows in response to the Dec. 14 killings in Newtown, Conn. The NRA had been silent for a week after the shootings until a press conference Dec. 21, where LaPierre called for armed guards in schools.

Hutchinson, a former Homeland Security Department undersecretary, likened the debate on armed guards at schools to the discussion over whether to have armed federal air marshals on airplanes.

"It has increased the safety of the airlines, and it's not like it's an armed camp when you go on the airlines," he said on ABC's "This Week." "Are our children less important to protect than our air transportation? I don't think so. So I think it's a very reasonable approach."

ASSAULT WEAPONS

Adam Lanza, 20, used a semiautomatic rifle to gun down 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. The shooting has prompted calls to limit military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Hutchinson said debating such measures would divert attention from making schools safer.

"If we go down that path, we're going to miss the focal point of providing safety," Hutchinson said. "I think that is really the wrong debate to have."

Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat who led the fight in the House for the 1994 assault weapons ban, said guns must be part of the discussion.

"Trying to prevent shootings in schools without talking about guns is like trying to prevent lung cancer without talking about cigarettes," he said on NBC.

Sen. John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican, questioned the need for new gun regulations.

"Washington doesn't have answers for everything," he said on "Fox News Sunday."

"We can get some false sense of security in passing laws and we need real solutions."

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