Tennessee GOP lawmakers silent on NRA recommendations

Tennessee GOP lawmakers silent on NRA recommendations

December 22nd, 2012 by Chris Carroll in Local Regional News

National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre pauses as he makes a statement during a news conference in response to the Connecticut school shooting, on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 in Washington. The National Rifle Association broke its silence Friday on last week's shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 children and staff dead.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

POLL: Should every school have an armed guard?

Blaming video games, movies and the media for last week's mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, an NRA leader wants Congress "to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school in this nation."

What's unclear is whether Second Amendment-supporting East Tennessee lawmakers will help the nation's largest pro-gun lobby make it happen.

Only Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., answered Friday when the Chattanooga Times Free Press asked area U.S. lawmakers for response to the National Rifle Association's recommendations.

The NRA broke its silence a week after a 20-year-old man used a semiautomatic rifle to kill 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said Friday at a news conference in Washington.

Gun control advocates and news outlets including CNN reported that Colorado's Columbine High School, the site of one of the worst school massacres in American history, had an armed security guard on duty during the attack.

Alexander, who received $9,900 in NRA contributions during his 2008 campaign, appeared to disagree that Congress should use federal money for armed guards in every school.

"Washington can't make schools safe, but parents, communities and teachers can," the former U.S. education secretary said in a statement. "I would think every local school board would be thinking about whether they need to take additional steps to make their schools safe from guns and other acts of violence."

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and U.S. Reps. Chuck Fleischmann, Scott DesJarlais and Tom Graves did not respond to an email from the Times Free Press asking their response to the NRA proposal.

All four have benefited from a few thousand dollars each in NRA campaign contributions. The House has not taken up gun control legislation since 2008, according to The New York Times.

After President Obama established a guns task force this week and demanded immediate action, Democrats had hoped the NRA would change its approach Friday. That did not happen.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Memphis Democrat and firearm owner, said Republicans should consider banning assault weapons, strengthening background checks and funding mental health.

"The suggestion by the NRA that we should have armed security guards in schools does not address the Tucson shooting where Gabbie Giffords was shot," Cohen said in a statement. "Nor does it address the [Dec. 11 mall] shooting in Portland. Does the NRA want armed guards at every shopping center in America, too?"