I didn't see the news conference by NRA spoksespeson. I'm basing this on what I've seen reported in the trade press so far.
But I just cannot believe the position taken by the NRA in its first public statement since the tragic Newtown shootings a week ago.
According to one trade pub, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre “blamed violent video games and movies, the media, gun-free zones in schools and other factors,” the report says, adding that LaPierre “said that the students in Newtown might have been better protected had officials at Sandy Hook Elementary been armed.
In a statement probably designed to boost gun sales, he also said "putting a police officer in every single school in America might make schools safer.” He added, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." He didn't address the question of how did the bad guy get the gun in the first place?
I hate guns, but I do understand the basis of the Second Ammendment. I don't think, however, the framers of the Constitution and the Ammendments were thinking of assault weapons and automatics with clips that hold multiple shells. These firearms are designed to kill many people quickly. Why would an ordinary citizen need such a weapon?
The NRA, in its statement, seemed to be playing clearly to their most staunch constituents. And totally off-putting to anyone else -- even someone who might be a moderate on the sensitive issue.
Instead of saying that guns are part of (even a very small part) of the problem, the NRA simply goes on the attack, placing blame everywhere but on guns, gun owners and matters of gun control. The NRA places blame for gun violence on the media and even on gun-free zones near schools. Say what!! Gun-free zones near schools are the cause of mass shootings?!!
From a PR point of view, the NRA statement will backfire by rallying those already angered and frustrated by gun violence to take stronger action. Instead of just scratching their heads and bemoaning the situation to friends, many more people -- spurred by the NRA's terrible PR positioning -- will become more active, pushing their Congressmen, backing politicians who are pro-gun control, and, if necessary, taking to the streets to keep the outrage going and the issue front and center on the nationbal agenda.
So, Mr. NRA CEO - nice going.
By the way, you might take a closer look at whomever is advising you on PR matters. They just helped you win a big one -- for the other side.