Erich Pratt, communications director for Gun Owners of America, told Andrea Mitchell Wednesday that none of President Obama’s 23 gun control measures unveiled Wednesday would help prevent another shooting spree like the one in Newtown, Connecticut last month that left twenty young children and six educators dead.
“We don’t think that any of the things that he’s proposing would have stopped what happened in Connecticut,” Pratt said on Andrea Mitchell Reports. “Sadly, what I think is missing is what actually would help. That’s what 85% of the American people support is having an armed teacher or principal to be able to stop a school shooting…I think there’s a big misreading of the political wings, and just like in 1994 with the congress, in 2000 with the presidency, I think there should be a real wake up call politically, a real backlash happening here.”
Mitchell challenged Pratt, pointing to a Pew poll released this week reporting 57% of Americans oppose more teachers and school officials having guns.
A new NRA ad released Tuesday attempts to gin up support for armed adults in schools by calling the president “an elitist hypocrite” for utilizing Secret Service protection for his daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11.
The ad asks, ”Are the president’s kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?”
Asked whether the ad is “over the line,” Pratt said, “Why is it over the line for the NRA to talk about children, but it’s not over the line for the president to bring in children? That’s the disconnect.”
Pratt also told Mitchell that President Obama “should have been apologizing to those children for breaking their piggy banks to pay off the national debt.” He said he was referring to the four children seated near the President’s podium at Wednesday’s press conference.
Mitchell pointed out that those children submitted letters to President Obama after the Newtown shooting and, with their parents permission, voluntarily became a part of the political debate—unlike Obama’s daughters. “Children of presidents have been off limits for decades,” Mitchell said.
“Unless they are, I suppose, Republican children of presidents. There’s a big double standard,” Pratt replied. Mitchell challenged the idea that Presidents’ children are treated differently by the media according to party affiliation.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to the NRA ad in a statement Wednesday. ”Most Americans agree that a president’s children should not be used as pawns in a political fight. But to go so far as to make the safety of the President’s children the subject of an attack ad is repugnant and cowardly.”
”Whoever thinks the ad is about President Obama’s daughters are missing the point completely or they’re trying to change the subject,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam countered in a statement Wednesday. “This ad is about keeping our children safe. And the president said he was skeptical about the NRA proposal to put policemen in all schools in this country. Yet he and his family are beneficiaries of multiple law enforcement officers surrounding them 24-hours a day.”
The NRA doubled-down on its anti-White House rhetoric in an email blast to supporters sent Tuesday, writing, “Last week, NRA sat in on a White House meeting that was sold to the public as an ‘open discussion’ about how to improve school safety. But that was a dirty lie. They didn’ listen to gun owners’ concerns…they didn’t consider any real solutions on how we can keep our kids safe…instead Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and their gun ban allies in Congress only want to BLAME you, VILIFY you, BULLY you, and STRIP you of your Second Amendment freedoms.”