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LaPierre says armed school officers are only quick way to make schools safe

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FILE: Dec. 21, 2012: National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre pauses as he makes a statement during a news conference in Washington.AP

National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre on Sunday defended his call for armed guards in schools, saying that plan is the fastest way to prevent another massacre like the one this month at a Connecticut elementary school.

“That’s the one thing we can do immediately that can make our children more safe,” he said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” We’ve got to get at the real cause.”

LaPierre, the gun rights advocacy group’s chief executive officer, made his original call for armed officers in every school Friday, a week after a gunman killed 26 people, include 20 first-graders, inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn.

The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, was carrying a semi-automatic rifle and two handguns that he had taken from his mother, Nancy Lanza, the legal owner of the guns and Lanza's first victim.

But with Democrats and some Republicans open to considering new gun-control regulations, LaPierre says limiting Second Amendment rights is not the answer.

“The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he told NBC News.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein vowed after the Dec. 14 killings to introduce legislation next month to reinstate a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, like those used by Lanza.

Lawmakers have also proposed federal background checks for gun purchases, an attempt to keep weapons away from people with mental health problems, as Lanza purportedly had.  

President Obama has vowed to use all of his presidential powers to find answers to the problem of gun violence, include a recent series of mass shootings, but has not specified about what measures he would get behind.

LaPierre’s comments Friday marked the first in-depth public remarks by the influential gun group since the Newtown shooting. In addition to calling for armed guards at all schools, LaPierre also blamed gun violence of the media and violent video games.

“If it’s crazy to call for armed guards in our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy,” LaPierre said Sunday.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said Sunday that armed guards are only part of a possible solution and called for the ban on high-capacity magazines.

“We have to go beyond that,” she said on ABC’s "This Week.”  “We cannot have an armed guard in every classroom, in every doorway.”

LaPierre also said he asked Congress for money to put a police officer in every school. He said the NRA would coordinate a national effort to put former military and police officers in schools as volunteer guards.

The NRA leader dismissed efforts to revive the assault weapons ban as a "phony piece of legislation" that's built on lies. LaPierre made clear it was highly unlikely that the NRA could support any new gun regulations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.