Two leading teachers unions came out strongly against a proposal Friday by the National Rifle Association to place armed police officers at the nation's schools.
The suggestion by Wayne LaPierre, the chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, came in an eagerly anticipated news conference that broke the organization's week-long silence since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., that took the lives of 26 people at the school.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre said, in an appearance that many pundits quickly declared a disaster.
Randi Weingarten, head of the 1.5 million-member American Federation of Teachers, immediately called LaPierre's proposal "irresponsible and dangerous."
"After remaining silent for an entire week following the Newtown massacre, the NRA’s first comments were to call for more guns in our schools and our society," Weingarten said in a statement. "This is both irresponsible and dangerous. No matter how much money the NRA spends or propaganda it tries to spread, one thing is clear -- the NRA is not serious about confronting the epidemic of gun violence in our nation."
The AFT wasn't the only union of educators to pounce on the gun lobby. Dennis Van Roekel, head of the National Education Association, also quickly denounced the NRA, calling the organization "out of touch" and its assumptions "delusional."
"It is shocking that following this tragedy, the National Rifle Association has called for more guns in our schools and avoided talking about commonsense measures to prevent guns from getting in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them in the first place," Van Roekel said in a statement. "Their delusional assumption that everything other than guns contribute to these tragedies reflects just how out of touch the NRA has become."
The NRA wasn't the first to suggest placing armed personnel on campus to stave off school shootings. Over the weekend, Bill Bennett, former education secretary under President Ronald Reagan, floated the idea of arming administrators or teachers as a preventive measure in the wake of the Newtown killings.Weingarten critized Bennett's suggestion as well, arguing in a "Meet the Press" roundtable that schools need to be gun-free zones.