(CBS News) On Friday, asof the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the National Rifle Association made its first public comment on the tragedy.
NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre rejected calls for more gun restrictions, and instead stated that "gun-free" zones made schools less safe by inviting criminals with guns into unprotected areas.
LaPierre insisted, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
across the U.S. "We need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protect program proven to work, and by that I mean armed security," LaPierre said.
LaPierre went on to add, "When it comes to our most beloved innocent and vulnerable members of the American family -- our children -- we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless."
, one carrying a large sign declaring that the "NRA is killing our kids."
Lapierre's comments also drew quick reaction from politicians, many of them sharply criticizing the gun lobby's response.
But the reaction to the NRA's public stance was more tempered in Newtown, Conn., as parents grapple with finding a resolution that will protect their children at school.
"There are some people I am sure who will say, 'Let's put more policemen in our schools, or bullet-proof doors or windows in our schools," Andrei Nikitchyuk, the father of a third grader who survived the Sandy Hook school shooting, told CBS News' Elaine Quijano. "What I could tell them would be, 'Do you really [want] to have a shootout in our schools like the OK-Corral, in our schools?'"
But another Sandy Hook parent says the NRA's rallying cry for such school security measures is a step in the right direction.
"We are a nation of strong opinions and strong beliefs," said Desiree Vaiuso, whose daughter survived the shooting. "And some of us are changing our minds."