WASHINGTON (CNN) — The Navy Yard shooting further proves that military installations need more robust security and more firearms, the CEO of the National Rifle Association said Sunday.
In the NRA’s first response to last week’s mass shooting in Washington, Wayne LaPierre argued the amount of time it took for first responders to kill the shooter could have been drastically shortened had Navy Yard personnel been armed with their own guns.
“This was a tragedy that should not have happened,” LaPierre said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” arguing that a naval base just a few miles from Congress and the White House should not be “largely left unprotected.”
“That can’t stand,” he said.
A week after the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school massacre in December, LaPierre drew loud criticism when he called for more armed guards in schools. Gun rights activists frequently argue that gun violence is less likely to occur in places where staff and personnel are equipped with firearms and strong security.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre famously said back in December.
Asked Sunday if the shooting at a military base undermines that argument, LaPierre said the Navy Yard was poorly equipped. “There weren’t enough good guys with guns. When the good guys with guns got there, it stopped,” he said.
While the Navy Yard has its own police force, there were only seven officers working Monday, a police officer and a union official told CNN. It took more than 30 minutes for police to stop the shooter, who killed 12 civilians and contractors Monday morning.
“We need to turn 30 minutes before they bring down the shooter into seven seconds,” LaPierre said. He also pointed out that members of the military with firearm training are “largely disarmed on our military bases.”
“We need to look at letting the men and women that know firearms … do what they do best – which is protect and survive,” he said.
While a few lawmakers used the Navy Yard shooting to try to drum up support for gun control legislation, those efforts didn’t catch on with the same uproar as they did after Newtown, when 20 children and six adults were killed.
The elementary school shooting led to votes in Congress on a package related to gun violence, including a bipartisan amendment that would have expanded background checks for purchases of firearms at gun shows and online. However, the Senate fell short of the votes needed to proceed with the gun package.