21/12/2012 11:57 GMT | Updated 21/12/2012 13:02 GMT

NRA Press Conference: Wayne LaPierre Calls For Armed Guards In Every School

The National Rifle Association has called for an armed police guard in every single school following the Sandy Hook shootings.

Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the America's largest gun lobby, told a press conference in Washington: "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun."

He added armed guards in schools are "the only line of defense that's tested and proven to work."

It is the first time an NRA representative has spoken publicly since 20 young children and six members of staff were shot dead in Newtown, Connecticut, last Friday.

“Since when did the gun automatically become a bad word?” Mr LaPierre asked.

"It’s not a bad thing when it’s in the hands of the Secret Service or a soldier," he said.

Last week's attack has reignited the debate around gun control, with Piers Morgan leading the charge against the NRAon Twitter.

LaPierre also called for a database of those suffering from mental illness, telling the room :"Does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn't planning his attack on a school he's already identified at this very moment?

"How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame? A dozen more killers? A hundred? More? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation's refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?"

His speech was interrupted by a protester holding a banners and shouting the NRA "is killing our kids". A second protester also had to be escorted out after screaming: "The NRA has blood on its hands."

Some media commentators noted on Twitter than despite being a conference on national security, their own security was seemingly poor.

The shooting has sparked a debate about gun control

LaPierre claimed “blood-soaked films" and "vicious, violent video games" were responsible for what he called "a race to the bottom", blaming the media for attempting to conceal a callous, corrupt shadow industry.

The NRA has come under heavy criticism on social media following the speech, with some media commentators criticised the gun lobby chief for failing to take questions.

Echoing President Obama earlier this week, he told the conference: "This is a time for action. We shouldn't waste time on legislation that doesn't work."

Obama has asked his deputy Joe Biden to lead a team tasked with delivering "concrete" gun control proposals by January.

Obama said the task force will include members of the cabinet and outside organisations in a mission that must report back by January, in order that the "complex" issue is not swept under the carpet.

As the press conference was going on, four people shot dead in another shooting in Pennsylvania.

Two men and a woman were killed and the suspected gunman also died in the shooting off rural road in the Altoona area, 70 miles west of Harrisburg. The identities of the victims and gunman have not yet been released.

In Newtown the chiming of bells reverberated, commemorating one week since the children and staff members were killed in the apparently motiveless attack.