Dave Keene, the NRA's president, told reporters: "Like most Americans, we were shocked by what happened" in Newtown, where the gunman who opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School also killed his mother and himself.
"Until the facts are known, the NRA has refrained from comment," said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA. "While some have tried to exploit tragedy for political gain, we have remained respectfully silent," he continued.
LaPierre said the most important question of the moment is: "How do we protect our children right now?"
He continued for several minutes.
"NRA, stop killing our children!" a protester shouted, interrupting LaPierre. The protester, waving a sign, continued to shout for about a minute before being escorted from the conference. LaPierre picked up where he left off seamlessly.
A second protester later interrupted LaPierre a second time. The woman shouted, "The NRA has blood on its hands. Shame on the NRA. Ban assault weapons now!”
LaPierre said the NRA will take the lead to develop and fund a “model national school shield emergency response program” for any school that desires it.
NRA officials refused to take questions from reporters following the conference, but said they will answer questions next week.