Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who's retiring from the House next week, took on the National Rifle Association's goal of having every U.S. school protected by armed police or guards, arguing that government involvement in trying to reduce violence is misguided.
"While I certainly agree that more guns equals less crime and that private gun ownership prevents many shootings, I don't agree that conservatives and libertarians should view government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence," the libertarian-leaning Paul wrote on his website today.
"Real change can happen only when we commit ourselves to rebuilding civil society in America, meaning a society based on family, religion, civic and social institutions, and peaceful cooperation through markets," he continued. "We cannot reverse decades of moral and intellectual decline by snapping our fingers and passing laws."
Paul is the first Republican to publicly speak out against the NRA's proposal, which was announced Friday at a news conference in Washington, D.C.
However, Paul's opposition to the idea doesn't mean that he's joined the side of the pro-gun control crowd either.
"Predictably, the political left responded to the tragedy with emotional calls for increased gun control. This is understandable, but misguided," Paul wrote.
"Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens' lives," he continued.
"Government role is to protect liberty, not to pursue unobtainable safety," wrote Paul.
The Obama administration has yet to release its own policy proposal in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting, which left 26 students and faculty at Sandy Hook Elementary School dead, but last week, President Obama announced the creation of a task force aimed at providing actionable ideas to prevent or reduce gun violence in America.
Vice President Joe Biden, a key author of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, is heading the task force, and cabinet members and outside groups will be called on for ideas and contributions. Mr. Obama insisted that he wants ready-to-act concrete recommendations on the "complex issue" in January.
Many believe that in the wake of the tragedy, the political will to reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004, will increase. The president long has supported such a ban, but exerted little effort to get it passed during his first term. According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, Mr. Obama also would support closing a "gun show loophole" allowing people to buy arms from private dealers without background checks, and would be interested in legislation limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Meantime, NRA President David Keene told CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday, that his organization will continue to oppose a ban on assault weapons used for "perfectly legitimate purposes." Noting that the previous assault weapons ban "was allowed to expire," Keene argued that "The FBI, the Justice Department, and others who studied it said it made no difference."