At their convention yesterday, the head of a politically powerful gun owners organization told a cheering crowd that "It's time to arm the kids." Henry Toulouse LaPere, president and CEO of the National Assault Riflemen [ NAR ], responded to an increasing call for greater gun control in the aftermath of recent school shootings.
"Evil walks among us, and as NAR members know, we need more guns on school grounds, not less. The socialist idea of schools as a gun-free area has made educational institutions a softer target than a jewelry store or the halls of congress. As we in the NAR are well aware, the way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a whole school ground full of guns."
LaPere derided the idea of more armed guards on campus as the solution. "We've had at least one armed guard on a campus where a massacre took place. The guard can't be everywhere. The cost of employing enough armed guards to make a difference would bankrupt the average school district. That solution is a non-starter.
"Nor is arming teachers a practical approach. Most of them are too timid to effectively use a weapon in an emergency. Nor do they have the judgment to know when to use it if they are inclined to do so. They might shoot a kid who threw scratch paper toward a waste basket. Arming teachers won't work.
"Some do-gooders would raise the age level for buying an assault rifle." His entire NAR audience responded with a earth-shaking "No!" After the room quieted down, LaPere continued: "That would infantalize those older teens and deny them their God-given, Second Amendment right as American citizens. If a young adult is old enough to vote or serve in the military, he's old enough to own an AR-15 for the protection of his family and himself." Great cheers followed that statement.
"We must harden our schools with greater security, achieved not by arming teachers or hiring more guards or passing laws that keep decent Americans from buying assault rifles." Here he paused for a moment.
"The real solution to this problem is a variation on that motto of the NAR, a motto taken from the citizen soldiers of the American Revolution, a motto that recognized that the only way to stop the British in 1776 was to have an armed populace, a motto that proclaimed: 'Let every man be armed.' " LaPere had to wait two full minutes before his audience, voicing its approval, quieted down.
"Today, that NAR slogan should be shouted from the rooftops in its new form: 'Let every child be armed." Thunderous applause shook the rafters of the hall. "Every kid should have an AR-15 in his or her school locker." Enthusiastic stomping of feet, whistling and clapping came from every NAR assault rifle owner present. LaPere repeated the motto: "Let every child be armed."
As he left the podium, every one of the 5000 NAR members in attendance took up the chant: "Let every child be armed. Let every child be armed. Let every child...."