The powerful National Rifle Association gun lobby called on Friday for the deployment of armed guards in every school in the United States, weighing in on gun violence for the first time since a school shooting a week ago that shocked Americans.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," Wayne LaPierre, the head of the lobby group which opposes tighter weapons controls, told reporters.
The largest U.S. gun rights lobby has been under intense scrutiny since gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 young children and six adults as well as his mother in Newtown, Connecticut, last Friday before killing himself.
But the group has said little publicly, citing respect for the victims and their families, and a desire to allow time to investigate.
Although previous mass shootings have done little to tighten U.S. gun regulations, the massacre of so many six- and seven-year-old children and school staff prompted outpourings of grief and calls for action nationwide.
In Washington, mostly Democratic lawmakers called for tighter controls on weapons or high-capacity ammunition clips like those used by Lanza and the gunmen behind other recent mass shootings.
President Barack Obama set up an interagency group to study the problem and vowed to present a detailed plan next month.
The NRA's LaPierre said discussion and new gun laws were not the answer during a 30-minute news conference that condemned the media and a culture that he said glorified violence through bloody video games and films.
He said the NRA was launching an effort to beef up school security through armed police, training and building design.
"The NRA is going to bring all its knowledge, all its dedication and all its resources to develop a model National School Shield emergency response program for every school in America that wants it," LaPierre said.
The news conference was interrupted twice by protesters who were escorted out. NRA officials declined to take questions.