Wayne LaPierre Demands $5 Billion Subsidy for His NGO

The central thrust of Wayne LaPierre’s press conference offering “solutions” in the wake of the Newtown massacre is to put armed security in every school.

There were 98,706 public schools in 2008-9 (plus 33,740 private schools, which I’ll leave aside).

Even assuming you underpay these armed security guards until such time as school unions represent them, you would pay at least $50,000 in wages and benefits for these armed guards.

That works out to roughly $5 billion, for just one guard in every public school.

That, at a time when we’re defunding education.

In short, Wayne LaPierre just demanded a $5 billion subsidy for his NGO, the price he presumes we should pay as yet another externalized cost of America’s sick relationship with guns.

I’ve got a better idea. Let’s tax gun owners, to cover thus potential cost and the cost of responding to the massacres the NRA enables. Anything short of such stiff taxes would be socialism.

33 replies
  1. harpie says:

    From NRA statement [they don’t have a direct link]-LaPierre; 12/21/12

    […] National School Shield Safety Program-NRA program
    The NRA is going to bring all of its knowledge, dedication and resources to develop a model National School Shield Emergency Response Program for every school that wants it. From armed security to building design and access control to information technology to student and teacher training, this multi-faceted program will be developed by the very best experts in their fields.
    Former Congressman Asa Hutchinson will lead this effort as National Director of the National School Shield Program, with a budget provided by the NRA of whatever scope the task requires. His experience as a U.S. Attorney, Director of the Drug Enforcement Agency and Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security will give him the knowledge and expertise to hire the most knowledgeable and credentialed experts available anywhere, to get this program up and running from the first day forward. […]

    About taxing gun owners, Yves links to one suggestion here:

    Externalities and the Dubious Defenses of Gun Enthusiasts; Naked Capitalism; 12/21/12

    We featured a post earlier this week by Michael Olenick that argued that the time had arrived to charge gun owners for the true cost of gun ownership […]


  2. dakine01 says:

    I was rather dumbfounded to hear LaPierre talk about some sort of “active national data base of the mentally ill” given how hard LaPierre and the NRA fought and continue to fight against any sorts of back ground checks at things like gun shows.

    After all, a database is pretty much useless if there is no requirement to actually use it.

  3. Teddy says:

    I think the movie theater owners are going to feel left out. How many movie theaters are there in America? Every one of them needs armed protection too.

    And Sikh temples? Why omit Sikh temples? Also: colleges and Universities. Also: Luby’s. Why does Wayne LaPierre hate Luby’s customers?

  4. harpie says:

    Violence Policy Center [saw this at NYT Lede Blog]

    “The NRA plan, which cynically allows for the continued sale of the assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines marketed by its gun industry corporate donors, has already been tried, and it did not work. In fact there were TWO armed law enforcement agents present at Columbine High School during the assault by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold that left 15 dead and 23 wounded. They twice engaged and fired at Eric Harris in an effort to stop the shooting, but were unsuccessful because they were outgunned by the assault weapons wielded by the two teens.”

  5. oboblomov says:

    “I’ve got a better idea. Let’s tax gun owners, to cover thus potential cost and the cost of responding to the massacres the NRA enables. Anything short of such stiff taxes would be socialism.”

    Wouldn’t it be a better idea yet to tax gun manufacturers?

  6. eh says:

    @harpie: “The NRA is going to bring all of its knowledge, dedication and resources to develop a model National School Shield Emergency Response Program for every school that wants it.”

    Nice setup for the next incident. “We offered to help protect them, but they didn’t want it. Convinced yet?”

  7. orionATL says:

    resonse to powerful pierre (“because i love ze moneee”)

    we have listened to your avoidance of respoñsibility and sophistical arguments dodging that responsbility for years.

    the nra is solely, repeat solely, responsible for the decades long impasse on gun safety through its utterly selfish, moniacle campaign to destroy the career of any american politician at any level of govt who refuses to support even its most inane demands.

    as organizations go, the nra is a sociopath who piously wraps itself in the constitution and the robes of justice

  8. orionATL says:

    a “syllogism” explaining republican refusal to accept responsibility for their harmful to disastrous policies and laws:

    – republican politicians in these times pursue hidden policy

    and law agendas

    – those agendas are based on the needs and desires of wealthy or powerful individuals and institutions

    – republican candidates must lie and otherwise deceive voters because they dare not run on their hidden agendas

    – when elected, those hidden agendas often prove the father of bad to disastrous policy and law

    – in order hide their responsibility for bad policy or disaster, repoblican office must lie to the public about that responsibility.

  9. lefty665 says:

    Put out donuts at schools. Let the local cops hang out there instead of the local donut dive. It would protect the kids and be a more cost effective use of public funds we are already spending.

    Hellfire missiles are real assault weapons. The president has personally ordered strikes that have killed many, many more kids than Lanza did. A single executive decision to stop ordering those strikes can save more children’s lives than all the “looks like an assault weapon” bans congress can ever enact. Where’s the outrage? Where is the same ridicule of and anger for those who could instantly stop killing kids but choose not to?

  10. bell says:

    the nra can’t have a solution becuase they are the problem, unless they want to turn the guns on themselves! this requires a solution from american politicians who are too busy being in bed with the nra…

    “I’ve got a better idea. Let’s tax gun owners.”
    unfortunately this requires some gov’t action as well, and we know how incapable these same politicians are on anything addressing the nra’s bullshit.. what will change any of this remains a complete mystery at this point..

  11. harpie says:

    The N.R.A.’s Blockade on Science; NYT Opinionator blog; Gary Gutting; 12/20/12 [Prof, Philosophy @ Notre Dame]

    In the years since the 2004 report, research on firearms has, despite the panel’s recommendation, significantly decreased. […]It’s not that scientists are uninterested in gun research or don’t know how to study guns’ connection to violence. It’s rather that the N.R.A. has blocked most efforts at serious gun research, going so far as to restrict access to the highly informative data available from Justice Department traces of guns used in crimes. As The Times reported, “Scientists in the field and former officials with the government agency that used to finance the great bulk of this research say the influence of the National Rife Association has all but choked off money for such work.”


    We won’t know the cause of gun violence until we look for it; WaPo, Opinion; Jay Dickey and Mark Rosenberg; 7/27/12

    […] One of us [Dickey] served as the NRA’s point person in Congress and submitted an amendment to an appropriations bill that removed $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget, the amount the agency’s injury center had spent on firearms-related research the previous year. This amendment, together with a stipulation that “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control,” sent a chilling message.
    Since the legislation passed in 1996, the United States has spent about $240 million a year on traffic safety research, but there has been almost no publicly funded research on firearm injuries.[…]

  12. jo6pac says:

    Shouldn’t tsa expand into the role? They want extra $$$$ to man road blocks so way not add a few dollars on so tsa can be there save us from harm.

  13. orionATL says:

    if you want to understand just how contorted and “let the argument fit the conclusion” justice scalia’s “heller” reasoning was you have to read the work of fordham historian saul cornell whose career has focused on the history of the second amendment.

    hint: in the larger debate the 14th and other amendments, together with long-established local and state history on gun-control prove as important as the second.



    here is a less academic article by saul cornell:


  14. orionATL says:

    more from historian saul cornell:




    for prof cornell’s essay just cited, this succinct statement:

    This is all so deeply twisted: after all, the Founders framed the Constitution in part as a response to the danger posed by Shays’ Rebellion.

    As a result, our modern debate over gun rights has virtually nothing to with the Founders’ Second Amendment; that debate actually started about 30 years after the Amendment was adopted. What emerged was the notion that reasonable regulation was not inconsistent with the right to bear arms. In fact it was the only option in a heavily armed society.

    Up until the 1980s, there was no “individual-rights” theory of the Second Amendment. Many states had adopted provisions protecting an individual right to own guns, but this tradition was distinct from the Amendment. All that changed when right-wing think tanks undertook a conscious effort to fund new scholarship to rewrite the amendment’s history. At first that effort was not well received, even in conservative circles. As late as 1991, former Supreme Court chief justice Warren Burger famously called the idea of an individual right to bear arms “one of the greatest pieces of fraud—I repeat the word ‘fraud’—on the American public by special-interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

  15. orionATL says:


    that “none of the money… may be used to advocate…” is another republican hidden-policy lie.

    the issue is not “may not advocate”.

    i think it is fair to say that at cdc that clause and related others is interpreted to mean that the cdc had better not and may not collect extensive data or fund ANY research on gun violence lest it be punished with loss of funding elsewhere and the prompt firing of its leadership.

  16. emptywheel says:

    @JTMinIA: Sure you can. The press gets taxed. Broadband gets taxed. Cable gets taxed. Books get taxed.

    If the First Amendment can be taxed, then so can the Second.

  17. rg says:

    @harpie: Thanks for the link and comment. This school program sounds like what we’d expect from Blackwater,Inc. And true to the shock doctrine model, this program seems to have been on the shelf, just waiting for some catastrophic event to provide the opportunity to roll it out.

  18. JTMinIA says:

    @emptywheel: I do not believe that the press are taxed for reporting. Yes, they get taxed if they sell their reports, but they are not taxed for the actual exercise of the right to speech.

    I’m not trying to be a jerk and I wish it were possible to tax gun ownership, but I don’t think that you can do what you’re suggesting and it seems a small step away from a poll tax to me.

  19. pdaly says:

    “I’ve got a better idea. Let’s tax gun owners, to cover thus potential cost and the cost of responding to the massacres the NRA enables. Anything short of such stiff taxes would be socialism.”

    Good idea. Right on. I’d like to see LaPierre try to shoot his way out of that one.

    $5 billion is a lot of cash. For what I assume would be a lot less, why not install bullet proof glass for the children’s classrooms and safer locks to keep the rooms secure during a lockdown?
    Also each school could be fitted witih silent alarms that ring up the police station directly.

    It’s just like the security banks have now except in service of protecting something more precious than gold bullion and pallets of cash.

    There could also be bullet proof dividers which come down from the hallway ceilings to help protect people caught outside the classrooms at the beginning of a gunman rampage. It would be a one time cost footed by taxed gun owners and gun manufacturers. And bullet proof glass doesn’t require an annual paycheck.

  20. DonS says:


    I’m not trying to be a jerk either, but I think you are way too tentative about this. I.e., you have either not thought it through vry much or are just provoking.

  21. JTMinIA says:

    @DonS: Tentative?

    “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

    No. Wait. Not that one.

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    Yeah. That one.

  22. P J Evans says:

    I’d say the first people on it should be the NRA’s officers and directors. With a note attached to each one that they are not to be removed until they’ve been dead for ten years.

  23. orionATL says:

    bloomberg publishes a report on the increasing importance of fund-raising to the nra given its falling income from membership dues:


    here is another bloomberg article on just how the nra goes about making its money each year:


    hint: increasingly, it’s from corporate and individual fundraising.

  24. guest says:

    Yes, let’s put underpaid, heavily armed men in all our schools, men who don’t qualify for better paying or more challenging jobs for godknowswhat reasons. It’s not like crazy, violent people would ever apply for those jobs. Well, maybe…. so we better hire at least two for each school so they can keep an eye on each other. And since the crazy one will take out the good one first, before he even knows what hit him, we should make it three so there will be a back up. Make that four since the back up will only have a 50/50 chance against the nutjob.

  25. tjallen says:

    Prediction: If this goes into effect, several children per year will be shot unjustly (or even accidentally) by their own school guards. If there is a 1/10,000 chance of it happening, that is 10 students per year.

  26. Eureka Springs says:

    So how are you going to enforce/establish this tax mechanism… send in a fed to search and inventory every home in the land? Felonize those who don’t care to inventory their grandpa’s shotgun or deer rifle? In order to punish and penalize what, 99 plus percent of millions of excellent gun owners.

    In addition to more taxation there is the other “progressive” response to the NRA’s more armed people in schools.. Sen Boxer wants to put in armed national guardsmen. WHile I think more armed people in ever increasing locked down prison like schools is beyond absurd… i think i’ll take my local armed Bubbas in local schools over the NG for day to day “security”… if I must take a side in two dog awful choices.

    No, this whole thing reminds me of tobacco (started with a “reasonable” warning label and now it’s against the law in many places to smoke in a bar, or even outside on a sidewalk or in a park) and millions of perfectly decent people now pay outrageous taxation on tobacco ta boot…. all the way to derivatives and cdo’s. It’s not about us except for the looting and ever waning liberties. When you can’t get what you want just ponzi complicate while bleeding peoples money dry.

    As I said when I joined the NRA this week… in a sea of absurdity I will side with those who defend liberty. (No matter how bizarrely they do it). Because I don’t see anyone remotely trying to address the violence in this horrifically violent society.

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