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NRA press conference: Put armed guards in schools (+video)

At a rare NRA press conference, the group's leaders implored the nation to protect schoolchildren with armed guards. The NRA also blamed media for misreporting on guns and promoting violence.

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He then predicted the headlines out of his media appearance: “More guns, you'll claim, are the NRA's answer to everything. Your implication will be that guns are evil and have no place in society, much less in our schools.”

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Instead, he said, the answer is to allow the NRA to help make sure that any school district that wants help with a security plan will receive it. LaPierre introduced another NRA official, former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R) of Arkansas, who will head up that effort, called the National Model School Shield Program.

“From armed security to building design and access control to information technology to student and teacher training, this multifaceted program will be developed by the very best experts in the field,” LaPierre said.

Meanwhile, President Obama is trying to keep up public pressure for a very different prescription for addressing gun violence. Early Friday morning, the White House released a video of the president thanking the 400,000-plus Americans who signed a petition on the White House’s We the People website urging action.

The president has already called on Congress to pass legislation banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and requiring background checks for all gun purchasers. On Wednesday, he announced an interagency task force on gun violence led by Vice President Joe Biden, which will come up with a plan by the end of January.

"If we're going to succeed, it's going to take a sustained effort from mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, law enforcement and responsible gun owners – organizing, speaking up, calling their members of Congress as many times as it takes, standing up and saying, 'Enough' on behalf of all our kids,” Obama said in the video.

Public attitudes about gun access have changed only modestly in the week since the tragedy. A Pew Research Center poll released Thursday found 49 percent of Americans say it is more important to control gun ownership, versus 42 percent who say it is more important to protect the right of Americans to own guns. Opinion was evenly divided in July, following a movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo.

The polling data released Thursday mark “the first time since Barack Obama took office that more Americans prioritize gun control than the right to own guns,” Pew reports.

However, Pew adds, support for gun control remains lower than before Obama took office. In April 2008, 58 percent called gun control a higher priority, while 37 percent chose protecting gun rights.

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