The National Rifle Association says the Arapahoe High School shooting is proof that an "armed response" to school massacres — putting more "good guys with guns" in schools — works, and that Colorado's new gun control laws, passed in the wake of the 2012 theater massacre in Aurora, did nothing to keep guns "out of the hands of bad guys."
"Gun control laws didn't stop a possible massacre at Arapahoe High School," the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action wrote in a letter to its members on Friday. "A good guy with a gun stopped the rampage and in doing so almost certainly prevented much greater harm. For that, we can all be thankful."
Claire Davis, a 17-year-old student, was shot at point-blank range as she sat in a hallway at the school on Dec. 13. "As bad as that was," the NRA wrote, "things could have been much worse."
Davis died Saturday. The 18-year-old gunman — a senior who was reportedly armed with a shotgun, about 125 rounds of ammunition, three Molotov cocktails and a machete — killed himself before carrying out what authorities believe was a planned killing spree.
"The attacker's mission was stopped short by the quick response of an armed deputy sheriff who was working as a resource officer at the school," the letter continued. "Upon learning of the threat, the deputy ran from the cafeteria to the library, yelling for people to get down and identifying himself as a deputy sheriff. The horrific incident lasted only a total of 80 seconds and ended with the shooter turning his gun on himself in the library as the deputy was closing in on him."
During a Dec. 15 appearance on "Face The Nation," Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said the gun control laws passed in Colorado in March "are going to make us safer, but in this specific case aren't going to make a difference at all. And that's the challenge."
"What does make a difference is an armed response," the NRA letter said. "But it only works in a situation where properly secured firearms are available onsite to be used by responsible, proficient, courageous people — in other words, the good guys."
A week after the Dec. 14, 2012, massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the NRA argued that gun control legislation would not prevent similar shootings, calling for a nationwide program that would place armed security in every school desiring protection.
"I call on Congress today to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation," NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said at a press conference in Washington. "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."