Reaction by Massapequa and Long Island officials ranged from anger to taking a wait and see response as the National Rifle Association gave its first extended response to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. on Friday.
At a news conference in Washington, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre suggested that the answer to preventing school tragedies may lie in armed protection at educational institutions.
"I call on Congress today to act immediately," he said. "To appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January."
LaPierre also criticized video games and movies for exposing young people to violent culture and announced that former Rep. Asa Hutchison, R-Arkansas, will lead an NRA program that will develop a model security plan for schools, that will emphasize armed volunteers.
Rep. Peter King, R-Seaford, indicated that with some exceptions, he doesn't think arming school guards will solve the problem.
“Except in extremely rare cases, armed police are not the answer to school violence," he said. "What we must have are common sense guns laws such as banning assault weapons and ending the gun show loophole.”
Assemb. Joe Saladino, R-Massapequa, offered condolences to those affected by the Newtown tragedy, but sidestepped the question of having armed guards at schools, but indicated he wants to engage in a dialogue on the issue during the next legislative session.
"We will be exploring balanced and meaningful answers to help bring about a better level of safety for our children, families, and for all New Yorkers," he said. "I look forward to working with everyone to develop new ideas and approaches to obtaining the level of safety our communities deserve.”
State Sen. Charles Fuschillo, R-Merrick, and Massapequa School Superintendent Charles Sulc, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
One official who had harsh words for LaPierre's stance was Nassau PBA president James Carver.
"It is ludicrous. Kids -- especially grammar school kids -- shouldn't have to walk into a school with police set up there [with] the fear that there's something bound to happen," he said. " The bottom line here is that the guns are getting into the hands of the people that they shouldn't be getting into."
LaPierre did not take questions at the news conference, which was interupted twice by protestors, however he and other NRA officials are scheduled to appear on Sunday news talk shows.