Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) rejected a call from the National Rifle Association to put armed guards in schools on Monday, saying in a statement on his website that “government security is just another kind of violence.”
"We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders. This is the world of government provided ‘security,’ a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse. School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.”
Paul, who is retiring at the end of the month, is the first Republican to publicly rebuke the NRA after the group’s CEO, Wayne LaPierre, gave a controversial press conference last week in which he not only rebuffed calls for more gun restrictions, but pushed for armed guards in schools as a way to prevent future massacres.
Many Republicans have been cautious about saying what measures they would back to prevent gun violence because the gun lobby holds considerable sway in the Republican Party.
President Obama is urging the next Congress to take action to stem gun crime, in a concerted attempt to respond to a series of mass shootings this year. The latest incident, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, which left 26 dead, including 20 children, has renewed debate on gun control.
On Monday, Paul said both sides of the political spectrum were overreacting to the incident.
“Predictably, the political left responded to the tragedy with emotional calls for increased gun control,” he continued.
“This is understandable but misguided. The impulse to have government ‘do something’ to protect us in the wake of national tragedies is reflexive and often well intentioned. Many Americans believe that if we simply pass the right laws, future horrors like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting can be prevented. But this impulse ignores the self evident truth that criminals don’t obey laws.”
But Paul also denounced the right for proposing increased federal involvement in the daily lives of citizens as a solution.
“The political right, unfortunately, has fallen into the same trap in its calls for quick legislative solutions to gun violence. If only we put armed police or armed teachers in schools, we’re told, would-be school shooters will be dissuaded or stopped. While I certainly agree that more guns equals less crime and that private gun ownership prevents many shootings, I don’t agree that conservatives and libertarians should view government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence.”
Another high-profile shooting occurred on Monday. In western New York, four firefighters were shot, two of them fatally, while responding to a fire near Rochester.