NRA chief lashes Democrats for 'exploiting' Florida massacre

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For NRA executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre, a hardened provocateur, Thursday's speech addressing yet another school shooting was comparatively muted.

"This wasn't just about guns".

"For them it's not a safety issue, it's a political issue", he said, accusing outspoken gun control advocates within the Democratic Party of seeking to undermine the constitutional right to bear arms. "You can't drink 'til you're 21", Amy, the attendee, said.

He said opponents of gun rights want to "sweep under the carpet" the failure of school safety, families, "and even the unbelievable failure of the FBI" to prevent the shootings.

The NRA set up a booth at the conference to sign up new members and recruit campaign field workers for the November mid-term elections in which Democrats are trying to take over control of Congress from Trump's fellow Republicans. "I mean, really, where was the systemic resistance?" That was a noticeable change from her demeanor on Wednesday night, when the usually brash spokeswoman dialed it back to speak with survivors of the Florida shooting.

The media "love mass shootings" because of the ratings, Ms Loesch said. You love the ratings. "Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you and numerous legacy media in the back", she charged, pointing to journalists at the back of the ballroom.

"So now I will no longer allow the media to bogusly blame the NRA for this shooting when the real blame sits squarely on those who refuse to protect their kids with armed good guys".

Vice President Mike Pence also spoke about school security during his speech at CPAC.

Trump also stressed he would push for an end to the sale on bump stocks, which allow rifles to shoot hundreds of rounds a minute and which were used during a mass shooting in Las Vegas previous year. The NRA occupies the largest space among exhibitors at the event.

And among the hundreds of young people at CPAC, the Parkland school shooting has jump-started a debate about which firearms should be legal. External Link Donald Trump tweet: History shows that a school shooting lasts, on average, 3 minutes.

But Clark, a gun owner, said he believes the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle should be eradicated. Trump said he wasn't concerned, though, about that. "And the NRA will back it". I'm close to them.

The conflicted views on gun regulations on the right reflect a broader divide within the party, said Kroeger, making it hard to predict how the Republican-controlled Congress and Trump might handle the issue if they decide to act. "I've spoken to them often in the last two days". "The only way to save our Second Amendment is to vote for someone you know named Donald Trump", he told NRA members during their annual gathering in 2016, shortly after the NRA endorsed him.

Trump does appear, however, to differ with the gun lobby when it comes to his support of increasing the age to be able to buy an assault rifle, from 18 to 21. Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Pat Roberts of Kansas have expressed interest in the proposal this week.

Some CPAC attendees who support gun rights agreed. "And notice I said "crying white mothers" because there are thousands of grieving black mothers in Chicago every weekend, and you don't see town halls for them, do you?"

President Trump, who has expressed an interest in providing certain trained teachers with concealed guns, said Thursday the NRA consists of "great people" who will "do the right thing".

"We have, what, 340 million guns in this country?"

Tagaliaferri, a Northeastern University student who serves in the Marine Reserves, said "that may become a necessity in some countries ... but I don't want that to be our country". "They're not going away".