We, the members and administrators of the National Rifle Association, are as shocked, sickened and devastated by the events that occurred that dark day at Sandy Hook Elementary school as any other American surely is. We did not wish to rush to make a statement, but rather to let the details come forward prior to giving a statement on the matter.
The horror of that event cannot be overstated. We too are parents. We too applaud the bravery of the teachers who made every effort to save those children and that of the officers who responded. We denounce the cowardice of the shooter and the cowardice of all who have come before him or think to come after him.
Despite the ugliness of that day, or of any day when innocent people have fallen to the actions of evil men, our mission has not changed. The National Rifle Associations goals are to raise awareness and proficiency with firearms, to promote safety with the same as well as to help defend the rights of law abiding American citizens.
It is our belief that a free people should be able to participate in their own defense, from wherever danger may come. To that end, we still hold it is better that citizens have access to firearms sufficient for participating in their own defense and will continue to work to preserve that liberty for all Americans.
We recognize that firearms are dangerous by nature. We do not deny nor do we ignore that they have been used to ill effect by many. But we also understand and remember that they have been used to preserve life and property by many, by tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands every year. And some of those who have been saved are school children and teachers as well. In that number are also fathers and sons, wives and daughters, brothers and sisters, the young and the old.
We cannot let the tragedy of the moment outweigh the preservation of our security. We, in whatever capacity we can, intend to continue our efforts to make sure that no one who might be saved by having a firearm when disaster strikes fails to be saved because they did not have access to one.
We must also insist that we remember that firearms are not just kept for the purposes of conflict, but that they are used by many to hunt food, to teach responsibility and by families, as the centerpiece of events for bonding and recreation. The vast majority of firearms in private hands did no harm to anyone on the day those innocent children were murdered. Tomorrow, that will be true as well.
We support no legislation that fails to recognize that. Instead we encourage our legislators to see to find the root causes of violence and address them as far as it is in their power. We encourage every American to recognize we live and dangerous times and to remain vigilant, whether or not they choose to include in their preparations the keeping of arms. We stand by our purpose and hope that the American spirit, one of independence and self reliance, cannot be bowed by the actions of a madman, whatever his methods.
There are many laws in place. Connecticut had a number of the measures in place that our critics insist be universal. They did not prevent the tragedy and we do not agree that should similar measures or even more stringent ones be made the law in every state in the Union that the result with be a guarantee of safety for anyone. There are a number of laws on the books and we agree that they should be better and more consistently enforced. We agree that the system has room for improvement, but that the banning or restricting of firearms or their ownership is a regression, not a progression.
Our hearts go out to all those effected by the tragedy at Sandy Brook Elementary. We wish healing and comfort to every person , both in the community most directly impacted as well as those across this land of ours, and indeed across the world, who have felt the impact of such an unthinkable and crushing loss. We understand and share the outrage you feel. We understand and agree that something must be done that this is never repeated.
And to this end, we are galvanized in our mission and more dedicated in our purpose.