NRA On the Offensive

by Eliana Johnson
The National Rifle Association will return to center stage in the debate over gun control this morning as Asa Hutchinson announces his recommendations for the organization’s School Shield program, which would put armed guards in public schools across the country. 

In a press conference at the National Press Club, the former Arkansas representative and potential gubernatorial candidate will propose measures schools can adopt to prevent mass shootings similar to the one that occurred in December in Newtown, Conn. NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre tasked Hutchinson with fleshing out the details of the School Shield initiative in December, when he told reporters, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”  The NRA has told National Review Online, however, that today’s proposals are likely to go beyond a call for armed guards to address the state of the nation’s mental health system and how to spot kids who are pre-disposed to violence before they act. 

The administration and congressional Democrats have taken a different tack, and the package of legislation that will be brought to the floor by Senate majority leader Harry Reid includes universal background checks and measures that will further criminalize gun trafficking. Five Republican senators are set to filibuster, and South Carlina senator Lindsey Graham on Sunday the legislation is “going nowhere.”  

With the NRA set to reemerge today, it has the momentum in this battle. NBC’s Chuck Todd told his audience this morning that the organization is “probably going to win this fight here in Washington.” In the states, however, it’s a different story. Todd cited Connecticut and Colorado, which are set to sign sweeping restrictions are firearms into law. His analysis corresponds with that of NRA president David Keene, who in February said that he viewed state legislation as far more of a threat than the proposals under consideration in Congress. So the organization’s next battle may be on the local level. 

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