The United States' largest gun rights lobby says it wants to address gun violence by placing armed police officers in every school in America, while two Democratic senators called the group's response to the Newtown tragedy shamefully inadequate.
The executive vice president of the powerful National Rifle Association
, or NRA, said tragedies like the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, last week could be prevented by armed security, adding that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
The NRA's Wayne LaPierre spoke Friday in Washington, one week after 26 people were gunned down at the school. He also blamed movies and video games for exposing U.S. children to a violent culture.
The NRA news conference was disrupted twice by protesters who blamed the group for gun violence. One protester held up a banner to the cameras that said, "NRA killing our kids."
Two Democratic senators responded to the NRA statement by labeling it a delay tactic aimed at stalling a real conversation about gun control.
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has said she will introduce legislation on reauthorizing an assault weapons ban.
"We cannot ignore the common denominator in all of these deadly massacres - access, easy access to killing machines," she said.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, who represents Connecticut, called the NRA statement "shamefully inadequate."
"The refrain I have heard again and again and again from the people of Newtown and Connecticut and all around the country is, 'you need to do something about the guns," he said.
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Members of the Rutter family embrace early Christmas morning as they stand near memorials by the Sandy Hook firehouse in Newtown, Connecticut, December 25, 2012.
A man touches the snow covered grave of six-year-old Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, one of 20 schoolchildren killed in the December 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, at the Newtown Village Cemetery, Connecticut, December 25, 2012.
Officials including Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy observe a moment of silence on the steps of Edmond Town Hall while bells ring 26 times in Newtown, Connecticut, December 21, 2012.
Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, center, stands with other officials to observe a moment of silence in Newtown, December 21, 2012.
Ben Toby of Sandy Hook visits a memorial to the Newtown shooting victims during a heavy rain in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Connecticut, December 21, 2012.
Jeanne Walker walks through an overflowing memorial to the shooting victims, Newtown, Connecticut, December 20, 2012.
A portrait of Benjamin Andrew Wheeler, one of the students killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, stands outside of Trinity Episcopal Church before his funeral service, Newton, Connecticut, December 20, 2012.
Boy Scouts of America carry flags as they walk toward Trinity Episcopal Church before funeral services for Benjamin Andrew Wheeler, Newton, Connecticut, December 20, 2012.
A long line stretches down the block in front of the First Congregational Church before a memorial service for Lauren Rousseau in Danbury, Connecticut, December 20, 2012.
A police officer stands outside as a service begins for teacher Anne Marie Murphy at the St. Mary Of The Assumption Church in Katonah, New York, December 20, 2012.
Firefighters salute as a hearse passes for the funeral procession to the burial of 7-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Daniel Gerard Barden, Newtown, Connecticut, December 19, 2012.
Earlier, President Barack Obama and other Americans paused to remember those killed a week ago. Church bells rang in Newtown and other U.S. towns and cities as mourners stood in silence.
The December 14 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary was the second-worst school shooting in U.S. history.
After the attack, President Obama said action is needed to prevent such a tragedy in the future. He has called on Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban that lapsed in 2004. The gunman in the Newtown attack used a military-style weapon.
The worst U.S. school shooting occurred in 2007, when a gunman opened fire at a Virginia university, killing 32 people before taking his own life.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.