LaPierre: Shooting 'Should Not Have Happened' at Military Base in D.C.

By Susan Jones | September 23, 2013 | 5:21 AM EDT

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre. (AP File Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

( - The mass shooting at a U.S. military base in Washington, D.C., "should not have happened," Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association Wayne LaPierre told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

"This is a tragedy that should not have happened, a memorial service that should not be taking place and victims that should not be victims. In a post-9/11 world, a Naval base within miles from Congress, the White House, seven miles from here, largely left unprotected. A terrorist target -- a high-valued terrorist target, completely unprotected.

"That can't stand. NRA is calling today for layers of security around our military bases. And the other thing we need to take a look at is all these brave men and women that are trained in firearms that signed up to serve in the military, they're largely disarmed on our military bases. We need to look at letting the men and women that know firearms and are trained in them do what they do best, which is protect and survive."

LaPierre says "there weren't enough good guys with guns" to stop the shooting until law enforcement officers arrived on the scene.

The outrage directed at guns "ought to be placed on an unprotected Naval base," he added.

LaPierre also said the nation's mental health system is "in complete breakdown," a reference to the apparently deranged gunman who had security clearance to enter the Navy Yard.

"Let's fix this broken system right now, which nobody wants to fix," LaPierre said. "And if we leave these homicidal maniacs on the street, they don't obey the law, they could care less about it, they're going to kill. The only -- yet the only way you can stop them is they send up the red flags. It's practically like a plane going down the beach with a sign behind saying: 'I'm dangerous.' And we leave them on the streets."